Enthusiasm for AI is driving top salaries for engineers and executives into the stratosphere.
What’s new: Companies that advertise open AI positions are listing annual pay scales well into six figures. In at least one case, the proposed salary approaches seven figures, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Generative jobs: On the help-wanted site Indeed, listings by U.S. companies that mention generative AI have jumped around 100 percent year-on-year, even as total listings declined slightly. Tech and non-tech companies alike have posted AI job notices that mention generous salaries. For reference, the average machine learning product engineer job in the U.S. pays around $143,000 annually, according to a study by insurance company Willis Towers Watson. Wages may be lower in other countries.
- Accenture mentioned a pay range between $131,000 and $338,300 for advanced AI research scientists. Goldman Sachs listed an AI engineer role with a salary between $150,000 and $250,000 plus an unspecified bonus. Walmart posted a position on its conversational AI team with a salary between $168,000 and $252,000.
- The figures rise for leadership roles. Amazon sought a senior manager of applied science and generative AI with a top salary of $340,000. Hinge, a dating app, advertised for a vice president of AI with a salary between $332,000 and $398,000. Upwork, which connects freelancers with employers, posted an AI vice president position with a salary range of $260,000 to $437,000.
- Netflix established a high-water mark when it advertised an AI product manager role that paid between $300,000 and $900,000. The offer didn’t escape notice by Hollywood screenwriters and actors who went on strike partly for protection against being replaced by generative AI models.
Behind the news: Skilled AI professionals remain in demand even as large tech companies are hiring fewer workers overall.
- 1.9 percent of U.S. job listings last year (omitting agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting) were related to AI, up from 1.7 percent the prior year, according to the 2023 AI Index.
- The number of U.S. workers in AI leadership roles has tripled in the past five years.
- The World Economic Forum forecast that global demand for specialists in AI and machine learning will grow by 40 percent to 1 million jobs between 2023 and 2027.
Why it matters: Even as demand is rising, AI talent remains scarce. The shortage prompts employers to offer high salaries in hope of attracting candidates with the skills and experience they need. That situation spells opportunity for people who put in the time, effort, and passion to develop a career in the field.
We’re thinking: We’re thrilled by the number of people who are participating in AI and earning good wages. Yet there’s more to job satisfaction than maximizing your salary. In the long term, the opportunity to work on interesting projects, make a meaningful impact, or work with great people is more likely to affect your happiness and professional attainment than the pay scale. Follow your interests, do your best work, aim to make the world a better place and — above all — keep learning!