Is it time to jump on the AI bandwagon?

Published on the 05/02/2019 | Written by Heather Wright

Hiring artificial intelligence staff

Analysis highlights AI situations vacant…

AI might be a headline grabber and ‘the next big thing’, but the job openings, while no doubt picking up, might not be quite as prolific as we’ve been led to believe.

The figures touted for AI have been impressive – with claims the technology could add up to US$15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030 (PwC) or, if you’d prefer IDC figures, cognitive and AI system spend will reach US$77.6 billion by 2022 – and there’s been much talk around skills shortages.

Early last year Element AI, an AI software startup, said there were almost 90,000 people in the world with the right skill sets for AI. Just a couple of months earlier, in late 2017, Chinese internet giant Tencent, had put the figure at 200,000 to 300,000 people who were either ‘AI researchers or practitioners’.

“236 AI jobs were up for grabs in Australia.”

Now robotic process automation vendor UI Path has weighed in, looking at job listings for AI globally.

UI Path says it analysed job listing in AI startup hubs across 16 countries, to reveal which countries, cities and companies are hiring the most staff in AI and machine learning, as well as the skills in demand in each country.

The report is a snapshot of jobs available on September 6, 2018 and shows there were 236 AI jobs up for grabs in Australia – that’s apparently 14.6 jobs per million.

Australia ranked ninth in UI Path report for both total AI jobs and available jobs per million of the working age population.

China was hiring the most jobs overall with 12,113 vacancies (which put into perspective is just 13.3 jobs per million – less than Australia), with Japan, which is third for overall AI job numbers, hiring the most per million, at 44.7 of their working age population.

Sydney makes it on to UI Path’s Top Cities list at number 25, with the vendor saying there are 107 AI jobs in the city – or 2.4 jobs per 100,000.

Australian analytics company Quantium, which is 50 percent owned by Woolworths (and currently has a number of roles available both in Australia and India), is the front runner when it comes to hiring for AI-related jobs, taking eight percent share, followed by IBM at six percent and Google at 3.5 percent.

When it comes to the most commonly advertised AI jobs globally, software engineers are most in demand, comprising 8.5 percent of global AI job listings, while data scientists, internships and researchers with the field make up more than one in 20 of all listings, at 5.9 percent, 5.4 percent and 5.2 percent.

Australia loosely mirrors global demand, with one-tenth, or 10.5 percent, to be specific, of local AI job listings being for software engineers. Data scientists are next on the demand scale, taking out 9.5 percent of AI job listings, but forget the internships: AI data analysts (8.5 percent) instead take third spot.

Solutions architects (four percent), account executives (three percent), cyber security (2.5 percent) and UX/UI specialist (two percent) all feature in the rankings.

Last month, IDC Australia forecast local IT services revenue jump from $19.4 million in 2018 to $23.4 million in 2023, with demand from companies seeking new implementation of innovation accelerator technologies such as AI (along with internet of things and robotics, among others) to create competitive advantages.

The United States has the second most AI jobs at 7,465, with the UK coming in at fourth, followed by India, Germany, France and Canada.

New Zealand was not included in the report, which has includes Poland at tenth for the number of AI jobs on offer, followed by Spain, Israel, Romania, Sweden and Hungary, with 18 AI jobs, or 0.7 jobs per million.

Santa Clara tops the city list, with 322 jobs, or 255.7 per 100,000, followed by China’s Suzhou, Ningbo and Zhongshan.

Interestingly, India ranks second lowest in terms of jobs per million, at 1.5 per million – only Hungary ranked lower in the list.

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