The AI Tech Development Race and the Talent Fueling the New AI Economy
Imagine chatting on your smartphone with friends about dinner plans. Italian or Chinese? Suddenly a virtual assistant pops up to help you coordinate those plans, or realizes you need to get from point A to point B and suggests you call a ride hailing service like Uber or Lyft. Time management will be that much easier.
Many of us also look forward to the time when getting your car to drive itself will be an option. We can’t wait to do nothing but zone out with Pandora or get work done instead of worrying about keeping our eyes on the road during Bay Area commutes that seem to be getting longer and longer with each passing day.
Welcome to the brave new AI-enabled world and economy that is now taking shape. AI development is exploding along with the investment in tech talent to back it.
According to a study from Paysa, just out today, companies are currently investing in more than $650 million in annual salaries to fuel the AI talent race with more than 10,000 available positions at top employers across the country.
Paysa found that the total annual investment, on average, among the top 20 employers that are looking to hire AI talent is $33,292,647.
Who is in the AI Dev Investment Lead?
At the top of the AI development frenzy are Amazon and Google, with Amazon allocating nearly 600 percent more and Google investing nearly 300 percent more than this average, indicating that their future success is heavily dependent upon AI technologies, and subsequently, the talent to create them.
Recently, as Quartz reported, Jeff Bezos outlined three major categories that Amazon’s AI falls into, which include visible products and moonshots, core operations and enterprise cloud. These include consumer facing products such as the Amazon Go grocery store, Prime Air delivery drones and the virtual personal assistant, Alexa, which got a lot of attention at this year’s CES.
Under the hood eCommerce functionality is another area where Amazon is leveraging AI and machine learning, mentions Quartz, as well as AI technologies for enterprise cloud including the S3 storage that supports most of the web as well and tools for developers who want to integrate Amazon’s AI algorithms into their own apps.
And Google has more than tripled the number of machine learning researchers working for the company over the last few years, reports MIT Technology Review.
Even Apple has announced plans to play the AI game in a much bigger way than ever before by entering the self-driving car development race. In an interview on CNBC’s Power Lunch, Steve Wozniak, Apple co-cofounder with Steve Jobs, was reported as saying, I’m hoping Apple does the same thing with autonomous cars that [they did with the iPhone]. I hope it’s so much better than the others and not just another player.”
We’ll see how that all shakes out.
According to a 2016 Markets and Markets Report, The artificial intelligence (AI) market is expected to be worth $16.06 Billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 62.9% from 2016 to 2022. Several U.S. companies have raised $1 billion dollars or more to fuel artificial intelligence (AI) development.
The People and Skills Behind the AI Curtain
Companies that are hiring to fill AI jobs are currently seeking tech and engineering talent with deep learning, machine learning, artificial intelligence, computer vision, neural networks and reinforcement learning skills.
Not surprisingly, the majority or 35 percent of the jobs require a Ph.D. For those who do have a PhD, the earning opportunity can be even more lucrative. For example, the average earning potential for someone with a PhD from a top tier school like Stanford plus 10-years work experience at Google could be as much as $314,000 per year including base salary, equity, annual bonus and signing bonus. In some cases, there are even employees earning more.
Still, there are many AI jobs where a PhD is not mandatory, as 26 percent require just a master’s degree and 18 percent require only a bachelor’s degree. And not all open jobs require a specific degree level – suggesting that for some 21 percent of the jobs, having the right skills are more important than graduating from a specific university or degree program.
The Paysa study also reveals that just five percent of the open jobs are executive level, calling for 10 or more years-of-experience, 28 percent of the available AI jobs are senior level positions, requiring five or more, 27 percent are mid-level, mandating two to five years, and less than two percent are junior level, asking for just one to two-years. Another 39 percent of open AI jobs have experience level requirements that are unspecified.
Just Where Is AI Investment Happening the Most?
As Paysa and other media reports show, competition for tech talent is most intense at the top with companies including Microsoft, Facebook and others all vying for new ways to cash in on AI and the profits from consumers that they will bring.
Paysa’s research shows that the top 20 employers who are hiring for these jobs and their current average annual investment allocation, based on average net salary, in order of their investment, are as follows.
- Amazon at $227,769,001
- Google at $130,048,389
- Microsoft at $75,158,057
- NVIDIA at $34,280,190
- Facebook at $38,636,827
- Intel Corporation at $19,390,160
- Rocket Fuel at $25,288,196
- GE at $11,355,668
- Cylance at $8,917,665
- Oculus VR at $11,545,141
- Booz Allen Hamilton at $8,453,977
- Huawei at $11,191,901
- Adobe at $11,234,781
- Accenture at $8,124,716
- iRobot at $8,185,097
- Magic Leap at $7,479,133
- Rethink Robotics at $6,262,943
- BAE Systems at $8,320,677
- HERE at $8,552,227
- IBM at $5,658,187
Where are these jobs? The top 15 U.S. cities where companies are hiring the most tech talent with artificial intelligence skills and expertise include:
- San Francisco, CA
- New York, NY
- Seattle, WA
- Washington, DC
- Chicago, ILL
- San Diego, CA
- Austin, TX
- Charlotte, NC
- Denver, CO
- Atlanta, GA
- Tampa, FL
- Minneapolis, MN
- Phoenix, AZ
- Louis, MO
- Albuquerque, NM
The total investment by region, considering average salary and number of available jobs is as follows:
|Region||Average Salary||Total Investment||Jobs|
The Paysa findings also show that 40 percent of the open AI positions are available at large enterprises with more than 10,000 employees, 10 percent are available at companies with 1001 – 10,000 employees and 7 percent are available at companies with 11-50 employees. Companies with 51-100 employees account for 5 percent of the open positions across the market while just 2 percent of the open AI positions are available at companies with 0-10 employees. Another 25 percent of today’s open AI positions were reported as being at companies with employee counts that were unknown at the time of the study.
And employers that are hiring for most of these positions (36 percent) are at companies that have been around 20 years or more while 21 percent of today’s open AI jobs can be found at companies that are 10 to 20-years-old. Only six percent of the open positions are at start-ups or companies that have been around five years or less.
If you are a tech or engineering professional looking to join a start-up and not a public company, it’s interesting to note that most of the start-up AI tech jobs are to be found at companies that have only raised a Series A round or companies that are at the Series D or later stage of the fundraising game.
Soon, AI will be in the power of everyone’s hand – quite literally. For example, the new M AI assistant app from Facebook will take different actions on your behalf whether you need a ride or help coordinating your meet-up with friends or even paying bills. Facebook will be rolling out soon to the U.S. market on Android and iOS, as reported by The Verge.
For the full picture of where the AI money is now and the growing range of applications being powered by that AI, take-a-look at our infographic below.