Artificial intelligence has become of the most exciting technological advancements to come along in a generation, touching everything from ride sharing apps to cell phone virtual assistants, banking and finance apps to HR professionals’ hiring software, ultimately helping people “work “smarter, not harder.”
But the rate at which things have accelerated isn’t just AI’s biggest advantage; it’s also the biggest challenge companies and entire nations collectively face, at least in the short-term. Right now, the technology is there and it is more powerful than ever—but the AI talent pool is worryingly shallow, with more jobs available than the number of qualified individuals to fill these very specific roles. Many countries are feeling the strain of the AI talent shortage, and some are making strides to combat this shortage—including some of the world’s largest economies.
The AI Talent Shortage
According to one recent study, there are roughly 300,000 AI professionals worldwide. That may sound impressive, until one considers the fact that there are also millions of positions currently vacant.
In fact, one poll confirmed that about 56% of AI professionals believed that a lack of additional, qualified AI professionals was the single biggest hurdle to be overcome in terms of achieving the necessary level of AI implementation across the entirety of their business’ operations.
If one broadens the discussion to the topic of machine learning, things get even more concerning. One Montreal-based startup estimated that there are fewer than 10,000 people around the world today who have the skills necessary to create fully functional, forward-thinking machine learning systems.
But there are signs of improvement. While the AI talent shortage will likely continue for the foreseeable future, there are also a number of countries around the world that are attempting to close that gap.
The Front Lines in the Battle for AI Education
In terms of sheer volume alone, the top three countries fighting the AI talent shortage right now are China, the United States, and Japan. From a statistical standpoint, China is hiring for the largest number of jobs overall with an impressive 12,113 vacancies over the course of the last year. That averages out to about 13.3 AI-based jobs per million working-age residents.
The United States comes in at a distant second, with 7,465 total AI jobs averaging out to about 36.3 jobs per million. Interestingly enough, Japan is a distant third with 3,369 total AI jobs, but it is far and away the leader at 44.7 jobs per million. This shows that Japan has not only placed an impressive emphasis on the importance of AI in the present, but also acknowledges that this will all become even more important in the not-too-distant future. It is taking necessary steps today to prepare for the reality of tomorrow—which is something from which countries around the world may benefit by emulating.
While a shortage of AI-trained job applicants may have slowed down hiring (and even stifled growth) at some companies, it’s clear that countries like China, Japan and the United States are beginning to grapple with and address the AI talent shortage. If nothing else, this should be welcomed news for those who are continuing their AI-based education, and for employees who are upskilling to work in AI-related roles, particularly in the tech sector. Specifically, tech giant Microsoft and General Assembly have announced a partnership to up- and reskill 15,000 workers over the next three years, aiming to create “industry-recognized credentials for AI skills,” and will be the founding member of General Assembly’s Standards Board. The current lack of industry-standard credentials is one of the challenges both companies and countries must address if the AI talent shortage is to be addressed on a global level. And, with ~45% of U.S. and UK tech firms looking overseas to find qualified talent, those skilled in various AI disciplines will become increasingly valuable to these and other expanding tech companies.
Find the Right Talent to Lead Your Global Expansion with an Experienced Partner
Though it will likely take years, the AI talent shortage and skills gap will decrease as private companies and countries alike implement plans to tackle the shortage—and this means globally expanding companies will have a broader, deeper talent pool in which to find qualified talent. This will be increasingly important for expanding organizations; currently 80% of companies are investing in AI, but acknowledge that significant challenges must be addressed before reaching the level of AI integration needed to propel their businesses forward. Until that time comes, globally expanding businesses can benefit from relying on an experienced partner to help find qualified talent for a variety of roles.
Velocity Global has helped hundreds of companies source and secure the talent they need to power their global expansion into more than 185 countries. Through our International Professional Employer Organization (PEO) solution, we provide expanding companies with the support they need not only to find qualified talent, but to establish their presence in new markets, many in as few as 48 hours.
Want to learn more about how International PEO can help you find the right talent for your global expansion and have you operating in your new market(s) up to 90% faster than with traditional entity establishment and maintenance? Let’s chat.