Enterprises Can't Get Enough AI Talent

Artificial intelligence is one of the hottest areas in software development right now, and employers just can't get enough AI skills, confirms a new report on research report on enterprise hiring trends.

Careers site Indeed's Hiring Lab, known for publicizing industry jobs trends by mining its internal data, last week published new research indicating that the demand for AI skills has consistently grown over the past 18 months, increasing twofold since AI was vaulted into the enterprise development limelight.

"As new advances in AI grab headlines, the need for workers with related skills is clearly on the rise," Indeed said in a blog post last week titled "Demand for AI Talent on the Rise." "Demand for workers with AI talent has more than doubled over the past three years, with the number of AI-related job postings as a share of all job postings up about 119 percent."

Ironically, the same can't be said for job seekers' interest in AI-related jobs.

"Job-seeker searches for common AI-related roles, as a share of all searches on Indeed, have grown by two-thirds over the past three years," the post said. "However, job seeker interest has not experienced a growth spurt similar to that of AI-related job postings over the past year, although the reasons for the plateau remain unclear. In fact, after uneven, but substantial gains throughout 2015 and 2016, growth in the share of AI-related searches essentially stalled from the first week of 2017 to the first week of 2018, notching a year-over-year gain of just 1.4 percent."

Plotting AI Skill Demand
[Click on image for larger view.] Plotting AI Skill Demand (source: Indeed)

In researching the topic, Indeed examined its postings to pinpoint the job titles that typically request AI and related skills -- such as machine learning -- and then tracked job postings and searches for those titles, going back three years. Example job titles include machine learning engineer, data scientist and computational linguist, for examples.

 Plotting AI Job Searches
[Click on image for larger view.] Plotting AI Job Searches (source: Indeed)

"Year-over-year growth in the volume of AI-related job postings, as a share of all job postings, measured 31.6 percent from the first week in January 2017 to the first week of January 2018, compared to just 20.1 percent over the comparable time periods in 2016 and 2017," Indeed said. "This is largely driven by an increasing volume of postings for two AI-related roles: machine learning engineers and computer vision engineers."

Indeed's research confirms the findings of similar reports. For example, careers site Upwork -- which matches employers seeking temporary help with its stable of freelancers -- last year noted a similar surge of interest in AI skills.

"With artificial intelligence (AI) at the forefront of the conversation around what the future of work holds, it's no surprise it is the fastest-growing tech skill and the second fastest-growing skill overall," Upwork said at the time. "As AI continues to shape our world and influence nearly every major industry and country, companies are thinking about how to incorporate it into their business strategies, and professionals are developing skills to capitalize upon this accelerating tech trend. While some speculate that AI may be taking jobs away, others argue it's creating opportunity, which is evidenced by demand for freelancers with this skill."

Upwork Q3 2016 Skills Index
[Click on image for larger view.] Upwork Q3 2016 Skills Index (source: Upwork)

Earlier last year, Upwork said voice-activated assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home were driving an increased demand for AI-related natural language processing skills.

This widespread demand for AI skills has resulted in the machine learning and data science fields having the youngest and highest-paid engineers, business-oriented social site LinkedIn said last July.

"Both specialties actually have the least experienced engineering workforces, with the highest percentage of employees with 0-5 years of experience of any specialty at 17 percent, likely due to being emerging fields in the technology sector," LinkedIn said in a blog post at the time. "Despite being a newer and more dynamic field, machine learning and data science engineers have the highest compensation level, with a median of $129,000 across the United States."

Highest-Paid Specialties
[Click on image for larger view.] Highest-Paid Specialties (source: LinkedIn)

LinkedIn data also contributed to more recent research conducted by veteran AI entrepreneur Jean-François Gagné, who last month published the "Global AI Talent Report 2018."

Where the Talent Lies
[Click on image for larger view.] Where the Talent Lies (source: Jean-François Gagné)

"The demand for AI experts has grown exponentially over the last few years," the report said. "As companies increasingly adopt AI solutions for their businesses, the need for highly experienced, PhD-educated, and technically-adept talent shows no signs of stopping anytime soon."

In a related blog post, Gagné summarized the situation: "As optimistic as we are about the possibilities of this new technology and about the available resources for democratizing it, it's clear we must do a lot of talent pool development before we can realize its full potential."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.