In search of (artificial) intelligence
Go to LinkedIn and search for jobs with this title and you’ll get 47,747 job openings. Go to Monster.com, put in the same search term, and you’ll get 53,216 jobs. If that’s not enough, go to Glassdoor.com, enter the same search term, and you’ll get 47,692 job openings.
What, pray tell, jobs are we talking about?
Artificial intelligence jobs are hot, hot, hot. And they probably will be for quite a while.
In LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report, its ranking of the top 15 emerging jobs, artificial intelligence ranked at the top.
According to the report: “Artificial intelligence and machine learning have both become synonymous with innovation, and our data shows that’s more than just buzz. Hiring growth for this role has grown 74% annually in the past four years and encompasses a few different titles within the space that all have a very specific set of skills, despite being spread across industries, including artificial intelligence and machine learning engineer.”
Filling such jobs can be tough. Recruits who have the skills and training to fill AI jobs are the new “purple squirrels”—those with the perfect resume and qualifications who are rare finds in a competitive market for sought-after, skilled employees.
A New Hiring Landscape
“Rapid advancements in new technologies, like AI, have quickly changed the hiring landscape,” says Charlie Ackerman, senior vice president of human resources at Bosch North America, a leading technology and service company located in Farmington Hills, Mich.; the company has uses and offers many AI applications. “Notably, it has created a supply and demand problem, where the demand for highly technical skilled workers is outpacing the supply. Looking at the marketplace, the talent just isn’t there to fill all those positions.”
The demand for AI jobs is widespread—and not just in Silicon Valley. All industries are latching onto the benefit of big data, machine learning, algorithms and all that goes into AI. AI has been heralded as the epitome of technology in action to do everything from training workers to filling out forms and automating processes of all types. As companies embrace AI with even more gusto, they want at least one expert in the house, if not many.
“People hear about the boom in AI jobs, and they worry all the opportunities lie with tech companies like Amazon and Google,” says Paul Solomon, founder and CEO of Solo Management, Inc. Recruitment Service, an executive-recruiting firm specializing in the banking and brokerage industries located in New York. “That might have been true a few years ago, but now, AI-powered software is enabling a variety of enterprises, even in the medical, legal and finance sectors, which have traditionally been late adopters of new tech. You don’t have to be living in Silicon Valley to latch on to one of these AI jobs. They’re popping up everywhere simply because the demand is so high. With the influx of AI functions across all departments and companies, it becomes imperative to have a specialist within the organization that can identify the right kind of candidate with the right kind of skills. This specialist has emerged much the same way an CIO or CTO emerged 20 years ago.”
Train and Build
Ackerman believes this leaves business leaders with two choices: Buy talent and bring them into your organization, or build your talent internally. Ackerman opts for building talent organically and using a strategic, multi-pronged approach to build the best AI talent.
“Technology will continue to advance and change the skills required for organizations to stay competitive and succeed,” he says. “Business leaders need to be nimble and understand there’s a new hiring paradigm, one where they need to be actively involved in building, training and upskilling employees as necessary.”
“Upskilling” is a brand new watchword when it comes to AI. Nobody is born an AI specialist; AI specialists are developed. Such development may begin at the college or university level, or companies as well as individuals may seek training to develop a specialty in AI.
Leah Belsky is the chief enterprise officer at Coursera, an online education and training company located in Mountain View, Calif. She says his firm noticed a significant increase in AI interest from organizations and individuals alike this past year.
“We had two million enrollments [in 2019] alone in AI-centric courses and specializations, and Andrew Ng’s [course] ‘AI for Everyone’ ranked the fifth most popular course of the year, despite only launching in February,” says Belsky. “Among Coursera for Business customers, we see companies not only increasing AI-related hiring in 2020, but doubling down on reskilling current talent in preparation for digital transformation.”
AI’s Mighty Progress—Past, Present and Future
If history repeats itself, AI is no exception. A New York Times article, “Emerging Careers; It’s the Real Thing: Artificial Intelligence,” once quoted an executive recruiter who said that if AI professionals “quit their work, they would have no trouble securing new jobs quickly,” and that “most AI experts have never lacked for job offers to entice them away from their current projects.”
There’s just one catch about the article: It was published on March 24, 1985, 35 years ago.
As the world’s adoption of AI surges, the demand for its skilled professionals continues—just as in the past. But today’s demand—just looking at the job listings and market research—seems to be exploding. As the digital revolution progresses mightily, so will the search for skilled AI workers, with no end in sight.