At European Recruitment, we’ve noticed a dramatic shift towards AI and Machine learning (ML); in fact, 70% of our focus has been on these new roles over the last three years. In this article, we map out the trends shaping the drivers for employers hiring and the new breed of professionals turning data into valuable insights that are either driving efficiencies, increasing profits or saving lives.
Across Europe, we've noticed organisations hiring AI/ML professionals fall into three categories:
Surprisingly, we’re seeing both the tech companies and more traditional players adopt similar strategies when setting up their AI teams. The trend is towards creating either research labs or AI Centres of Excellence (COE). For example, one of our clients within semi-conductors has set up a research lab which is independent of the traditional functions, tasked with improving products. Of course, these teams still work closely with Product teams and the existing IT/data functions.
As for the Start-ups, we've seen a considerable amount of VC money pouring in; these unknown new brands are often operating in stealth mode, which makes attracting talent harder. But with the buoyant market attracting considerable finance, the equity offers for new jones is undoubtedly appealing.
For Start-ups, we believe embedding an exclusive agency is the best way to attract the right AI talent, as it will allow you to inform them about your roadmap and brand. Not only that, but they can act as evangelists and ambassadors in the marketplace for you, allowing you to focus on the product and internal topics. We have seen this approach result in massive growth with start-ups we have partnered with, with one particular client being acquired by a US multinational.
When building an AI/ML Team or COE, there's a blend of traditional tech roles from software developers to data engineers, but the stars that make the AI magic happen are those with a strong academic background including PhDs and MSc degrees. These vary from Mathematics, Statisticians to actual AI PhDs or MScs.
When seeking these experts, we've found clients exploring three paths: academics involved in basic research; professionals employed in research labs – and increasingly because of the skills shortage – data scientists that are re-training. To support re-training, universities are now offering part-time AI courses.
To ensure the highest standard of AI expertise in your business, we would encourage companies to invest in self-development training for all staff, including supporting travel and access to conferences where the latest topics are being discussed with their research peers. On top of that, it’s crucial to be investing in the latest software licenses and tools for staff, while encouraging an open-source culture. This will not only accelerate learning and development but also benefit the company culture long-term.
The exponential increase in demand for skilled AI talent is limiting many organisation's AI ambitions. With the very best data scientists being snapped up globally by Silicon Valley, employers have to try even harder to attract the skills they need.
At European Recruitment, we're advising our clients around selling themselves better, with the most appealing team structures, job descriptions, and the remuneration packages needed to compete. In addition, we've noticed the projects and environments that are getting the most attention, and if you're a start-up in healthcare with lavish funding, equity options and a respected team making life-saving software and services, then you're in luck!
As mentioned earlier, companies are setting up research labs and COEs for AI/ML. These new vertical teams are attractive to newly minted PhDs because the culture, skills, projects and working practices will appeal to their skill and mindset.
Furthermore, for these COEs to succeed and become valued by an organisation, various aspects need to evolve, including:
The rise of remote working is another trend to keep an eye on. The demand for skills is global so we’ve seen offers for people based in the UK offered full time roles in the USA with no need for them to leave their postcode. This working practice used to be a handy angle for smaller players but is now standard practice. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this post-lockdown.
To summarise, it’s now more crucial than ever to pay close attention to how you attract staff and how you sell yourself as a company. It is also worth considering restructuring your business or setting up research labs/COEs to appeal to more talent in this field.
If you'd like some advice or would like to understand how our services can help you to set up an AI & Machine Learning team please get in touch by calling +44 (0)1273 957 888 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org