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The best jobs for work-life balance: Data scientists, SEO managers and more

Everyone with a job is looking for that perfect work-life balance, but some industries tip the scales better than others.

Data scientists, search engine optimization managers, talent-acquisition specialists and social media managers have the most work-life balance, in that order, according to a report released Tuesday on the careers website Glassdoor.

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The company analyzed recent user feedback that rated this kind of job flexibility on a 5-point satisfaction scale — with 5 signifying "very satisfied" — and revealed those four fields were not only tops, but also the only ones to have an average score of 4 or higher.

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That's some half-full news for social media and SEO managers, who may not be in it for the money; Glassdoor found their annual average salaries — based on anonymous salary reports shared by U.S. employees over the past year — to be $40,000 and $45,720, respectively. It's better news for talent-acquisition specialists (who make an estimated salary of $64,504), and data scientists, who pocket nearly twice that much each year, on average.

"Employees who report a good balance between personal life and work often also report a higher satisfaction with their company," Scott Dobroski, a career-trends analyst for Glassdoor, told TODAY.com via an email intermediary. "When employers allow for their employees to have a better balance between work and personal life, they typically see healthy retention and recruitment rates, along with healthy productivity and creativity among employees."

Using additional salary estimates, the top-25 list of jobs with the best work-life balance also includes substitute teachers (No. 5; 3.9 rating; $24,380); digital marketing managers (No. 8; 3.9 rating; $70,052); civil engineers (No. 12; 3.8 rating; $65,532); and Web designers (No. 17; 3.8 rating; $53,848).

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The study also revealed that work-life balance isn't what it used to be: The average satisfaction rating was 3.5 in 2009, but dipped to 3.2 about three years ago and has remained there ever since. Dobroski told TODAY.com that technological advances are partially responsible for that decline.

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"We know that one attribute adding to work-life balance going down is the fact that employees are now connected to their work 24/7," he added. "Thanks to technology, employees are often checking their email and putting in extra hours on nights, weekends and even when they're out on vacation in many cases."

Although Dobroski declined to share the jobs with the lowest work-balance satisfaction ratings, he did provide a "sample of jobs that are below the average work-life balance rating of 3.2." Social workers ($48,768) and reporters ($40,640) both offer an average satisfaction rating of 3.0, while claims examiners ($50,000) and mental-health therapists ($46,740) hovered at 2.7.

Even if every job industry isn't conducive to clocking out — and staying off-duty — at 5 p.m., talking with supervisors can help ease the occupational burden.

"To help maintain a healthy work-life balance, it's all about setting goals and expectations between managers and their employees," Dobroski said. "When employees have a very clear vision of what they need to do and what's expected of them, they can better manage their work life with their personal life."

Here's the full list, with average salaries supported by at least 200 salary reports for each particular job title in the report, a Glassdoor representative confirmed with TODAY.

1. Data Scientist

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 4.2
  • Salary: $114,808
  • Number of Job Openings: 1,315

2. SEO Manager

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 4.1
  • Salary: $45,720
  • Number of Job Openings: 338

3. Talent Acquisition Specialist

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 4.0
  • Salary: $63,504
  • Number of Job Openings: 1,171

4. Social Media Manager

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 4.0
  • Salary: $40,000
  • Number of Job Openings: 661

5. Substitute Teacher

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.9
  • Salary: $24,380
  • Number of Job Openings: 590

6. Recruiting Coordinator

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.9
  • Salary: $44,700
  • Number of Job Openings: 446

7. UX Designer

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.9
  • Salary: $91,440
  • Number of Job Openings: 338

8. Digital Marketing Manager

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.9
  • Salary: $70,052
  • Number of Job Openings: 640

9. Marketing Assistant

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8
  • Salary: $32,512
  • Number of Job Openings: 384

10. Web Developer

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8
  • Salary: $66,040
  • Number of Job Openings: 2,117

11. Risk Analyst

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8
  • Salary: $69,088
  • Number of Job Openings: 208

12. Civil Engineer

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8
  • Salary: $65,532
  • Number of Job Openings: 809

13. Client Manager

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8
  • Salary: $71,120
  • Number of Job Openings: 503

14. Instructional Designer

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8
  • Salary: $66,040
  • Number of Job Openings: 782

15. Marketing Analyst

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8
  • Salary: $60,000
  • Number of Job Openings: 341

16. Software QA Engineer

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8
  • Salary: $91,440
  • Number of Job Openings: 457

17. Web Designer

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8
  • Salary: $53,848
  • Number of Job Openings: 500

18. Research Technician

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.8
  • Salary: $36,525
  • Number of Job Openings: 299

19. Program Analyst

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.7
  • Salary: $71,120
  • Number of Job Openings: 524

20. Data Analyst

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.7
  • Salary: $58,928
  • Number of Job Openings: 1,954

21. Content Manager

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.7
  • Salary: $60,960
  • Number of Job Openings: 409

22. Solutions Engineer

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.7
  • Salary: $92,456
  • Number of Job Openings: 652

23. Lab Assistant

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.7
  • Salary: $27,550
  • Number of Job Openings: 779

24. Software Developer

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.7
  • Salary: $80,000
  • Number of Job Openings: 3,330

25. Front End Developer

  • Work-Life Balance Rating: 3.7
  • Salary: $75,000
  • Number of Job Openings: 1337

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