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Demand for AI skills triple in the UK

Despite the concern of taking over jobs, the UK leads the way in AI skills demand and job preference.

By April Slattery

Technology has advanced in recent years more than could have been imagined, with artificial intelligence (AI) and skills a prominent part of the picture.

Research from Indeed has revealed the significant increase in demand for workers holding AI skills in the technology sector, despite the concerns the technology will take over. The research found that the demand has almost tripled over the last three years.

The number of candidates searching for jobs in both machine learning and AI has doubled over the same time period, as the two areas were the biggest in growth for skills demand.  In comparison to other locations around the world, the growth of AI skills demand in the UK has outpaced the same increase in the US, Canada and Australia.

AI roles advertised in 2018 were 1,300 out of every million, which is double the number in Canada and more than 20% in the US. The roles within AI and machine learning have been found to be at a higher rate than any other, suggesting this is a reason they are favoured highly by candidates.

“Britain’s reputation as a tech leader has made it a natural home for the booming AI sector, and the UK’s concentration of AI jobs has risen steadily – and now outstrips that in the other major English-speaking countries,” Tara Sinclair, Economist and Senior Fellow at Indeed, said.

Demand for AI skills triple in the UK

AI demand increases, skills still need to.

The concerns regarding AI taking over jobs has seemingly reduced, as more consider taking up a job with that profession. Software developers have also said recently that AI taking over jobs is the least of their concerns in the workplace.

Sinclair said: “While the jury is still out on how many existing roles could be made redundant as AI becomes more widespread, or whether its potential for job creation outweighs any losses, in the short term, AI is providing a shot in the arm to Britain’s jobs markets.”

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Further findings backed up Sinclair’s statement, which outlined that more jobs are expected to be created than lost with the implementation of AI. A report from Gartner found that AI is expected to bring 2.3million jobs, in comparison to 1.8million jobs it could destroy.

Despite a rising number of people searching for jobs in AI, the report still found that there are six times as many jobs advertised for AI positions than there are applicants. Therefore, this turns back to the development of skills within the workplace and aiming to close the digital skills gap.

The UK Government has already vowed that Brexit will not implicate this gap further, ensuring that there are more technology visas available to overseas talent. Sinclair agreed that Brexit must be handled correctly, to ensure talent is not lost.

He said: “AI jobs require highly specialised skills. So it is essential that post-Brexit Britain retains the ability to attract the global talent it needs to keep its AI sector in pole position.”

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