Securing employees with expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) has become a top priority for almost three-quarters (73%) of employers, reveals a recent survey commissioned by Amazon Web Services. Despite this demand, a majority of employers are facing challenges in finding qualified AI talent. The study, conducted by Access Partnership on behalf of AWS and involving 3,297 employees and 1,340 organizations across various U.S. industries, indicates a willingness among organizations to increase pay levels for AI-skilled workers in various business functions.
The survey unveils a readiness to boost salaries, with potential increases averaging 43% in sales and marketing, 42% in finance, 37% in legal, regulatory, and compliance, and 35% in human resources. The report suggests that these anticipated pay premiums reflect the broad applications of AI’s benefits, such as task automation, enhanced creativity, and improved outcomes across departments and tasks. Employers foresee AI-skilled workers driving additional productivity and delivering higher-quality work, justifying the salary increments.
In response to the rising demand for AI talent, U.S. companies are reportedly engaged in an “AI recruiting frenzy,” with some offering salaries nearing seven figures. Notably, Amazon had an opening for a “senior manager of applied science and generative AI” with a potential salary of $340,300.
Three-quarters (75%) of those prioritizing the hiring of AI-skilled talent are struggling to identify qualified candidates
The study finds that 42% of employers are actively seeking individuals with AI development qualifications. However, three-quarters (75%) of those prioritizing the hiring of AI-skilled talent are struggling to identify qualified candidates, underscoring the existing difficulty in meeting the demand for such expertise.
To address the AI talent crisis, companies are adopting various strategies, including partnerships with educational institutions and utilizing on-demand and gig workers, according to Betsy Summers, a principal analyst at Forrester. She emphasizes the need for creative approaches to talent sourcing, as discussed in a podcast hosted by Forrester in August.
Against this backdrop, Amazon has recently begun restructuring its Alexa division, eliminating several hundred roles. Simultaneously, the company launched an initiative to provide free AI skills training and education to 2 million people globally by 2025. This effort includes offering eight free courses for adults to strengthen their AI skills and partnering with Udacity to provide scholarships valued at over $12 million to more than 50,000 high school and university students from underserved communities.
In a parallel move, Microsoft announced in October a new initiative, featuring free coursework developed with LinkedIn, aimed at assisting individuals worldwide in acquiring AI skills.