Yahoo is ramping up hiring despite impending layoffs —  and hints at stronger search and content

Yahoo is under pressure to cut costs and narrow its focus, but its latest job openings suggest it’s still planning for a big expansion this year.

In the first two weeks of 2016 alone, Yahoo has already posted 84 new job openings, with positions spread across search, content, advertising, and data analysis, according its career page. The majority of the openings are focused on the engineering and development sides, but there’s also a hint of a stronger push in its content business.

The job description for a VP of Social Media, for example, suggests that Yahoo wants to further beef up its content publishing business this year.

“Yahoo Media’s editorial team is gearing up for an aggressive publishing program in 2016 and seeks a VP of Social Media to mastermind an equally aggressive outreach strategy across all social platforms,” it writes.

Ten of the new jobs posted in the past two weeks are related to search, a business where Mayer is increasingly investing resources despite tough competition with industry leader Google.

The slew of new job openings suggest that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer may be determined to push forward with at least some of the company’s ambitious growth plans, even as the company has said it will narrow its product strategy and focus going forward, and as sources say the company is preparing to slash more than a thousand workers in big layoffs.

A growing number of investors meanwhile are clamoring for Yahoo to sell the struggling internet business, rather than investing more in it.

Invest or cut?

The number of openings isn’t as high as Google’s, which has posted more than 150 new positions this year (of course, Google is six times the size of Yahoo, by headcount), but it’s a reflection of Yahoo’s potential plans to build up the business and to move forward with a three-year old turnaround plan that has so far failed to produce the expected payoff.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer
Mayer and CFO Ken Goldman Yahoo

That may not sit well with some of Yahoo’s investors. Activist investor Starboard stated in a letter to Yahoo’s boardlast week that it’s seeking “significant changes” across the board and management, as well as the overall strategy and execution. It also urged a sale of Yahoo’s core business, threatening to launch a proxy fight.

Yahoo is expected to announce a big reorganization in the coming weeks. So it’s possible that the hiring plans are simply a relic of a previous strategy that will be scrapped as soon as Yahoo announces the reorg. And Yahoo still needs to fill certain positions when they become vacant to ensure that its core business operations run smoothly.

But with the big reorg due to be unveiled shortly, it’s noteworthy that Yahoo is actively trying to hire so many new employees at this point.

Yahoo is also trying to recruit for positions such as Head of Global Sales Operations & Strategy and Senior Data Insights Analyst.

There are also a number of jobs available for Yahoo’s Omaha, Nebraska office, but they’re mostly in sales as it has a pretty big sales operations there. Some jobs are for a unit called Yahoo 7, a joint media company built in partnership with Australia’s Seven West Media.

Yahoo has suffered an extensive brain drain in recent months, with numerous high-level executives and rank-and-file staffers leaving the company. And Yahoo recently shut down the Screen service that served as the primary hub for its catalogue of online video content.

In December, Yahoo reversed its plan to spin-off its holdings in Asian assets, announcing that it would explore a spin-off of its core business instead. Yahoo’s chairman Maynard Webb said it’s not looking to sell the core business, although he indicated the company would listen to offers.

A Yahoo representative wasn’t immediately available to comment for this story.

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