AI Labor Market: High Salaries and Hunt for Best Minds AI Labor Market: High Salaries and Hunt for Best Minds

Today companies of different sizes and directions develop, implement, use, and sell AI systems. However, there is a deficiency of specialists in this field around the world. Therefore, both IT giants and smaller companies hunt for qualified developers luring them with salaries measured in millions. Read about the current situation in the AI labor market further in the article.

Staff shortage – the main problem of the AI labor market

AI development is money and time-consuming process. Sometimes one person can handle product development independently, and sometimes a big team is engaged with each member responsible for certain tasks. Besides, a growing number of organizations resorts to big data. Therefore, today many companies want to attract a fair number of artificial intelligence specialists. But it is not always possible, as there is a lack of specialists in this field.

Element AIstartup conducted market research and found out that there were only 22,000 programmers with an academic degree capable of developing AI systems in 2018. Just 3,000 of them were looking for a job. At the same time, at least 10,000 vacant positions in this field were available for applicants in the USA.

The deficiency of specialists leads to the situation when interested companies are fighting for valuable candidates.

High salary as a way to attract AI specialists

Today Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and other global major corporations have their own AI projects. They need specialists to realize those projects. To attract such specialists to their platforms, they offer high salaries.

According to the New York Times, OpenAI paid the AI developer Ilya Sutskever $1.9million in 2016. Another company’s researcher Ian Goodfellow earned over $800,000 for the incomplete calendar year. Previously, both programmers worked for Google. Robotics engineer Pieter Abbeel earns $425,000 per month.

Lesser-known developers can also expect high incomes today. Beginning AI specialists with small or lack of experience can make from $300,000 to $500,000 per year.

To retain qualified IT specialists, companies conclude million-dollar worth contracts for several years with a possibility of further prolongation. Besides, they can even receive stakes in companies.

China also lacks specialists. To solve this problem, local corporations offer AI specialists high salaries. Chinese developers of AI solutions have a higher income than analysts have at the best investment banks of the country.

In Ukraine, IT field representatives do not have such high revenues as in the USA, Asia, and European countries. According to the survey conducted by DOU, the average salary of developers ranged from $500 to $5,000 in December of 2018. Junior QA specialists and talent researchers had the lowest incomes. And the highest salaries were common for system architects and directors of engineering.

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Lack of staff: reasons

Today not many higher education institutions have faculties, departments, or courses that train artificial intelligence specialists. Therefore, people that want to master this profession and have specific skills learn the basics of the discipline in other ways.

According to Financial Times, Kaggle made a survey showing that only 30% of respondents working in the AI field had studied data science and machine learning at educational institutions. 66%of surveyed stated they were self-learning. More than half of users stated that they learned the basics of the profession at online courses.

In Ukraine, AI specialists are trained at IASA (Institute for Applied System Analysis) NTUU “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute”, Ukrainian Catholic University, and other higher education institutions.

Companies also cause a deficiency of personnel when they lure professors from universities. Instead of sharing knowledge and experience with students, lecturers move to work for the commercial sector.

For example, the expert in machine learning Andrew Ng quitted his job at Stanford University and moved to Baidu. In 2016, a number of scientists left Oxford and Cambridge Universities and joined DeepMind. Pieter Abbeel moved to OpenAIfrom the University of California.

How to solve the problem

According to the CTO of LexisNexis Legal and Professional Jeff Reihl, forward-looking participants of the IT field will not be waiting until the labor market fills with a sufficient number of AI developers. They will take the training of such employees in their own hands.

For example, even today different companies (Intel, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and others) are organizing training programs for AI specialists. Googlewent further in this question. The IT giant conducts experiments with automated machine learning where artificial intelligence independently develops another AI system.


According to Tractica, the global AI solutions market accounted for $8.1billion in 2018. According to forecasts, this figure will be growing and will reach $105.8billion by 2025. As a result, the demand for specialists in artificial intelligence will remain relevant. However, experts believe that the problem with the lack of specialists will not disappear, as training of qualified developers requires much time.

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