AI skills in these non-tech professions come with massive wage increases

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On average, U.S. workers with artificial intelligence skills command a wage premium of up to 25%, but some jobs can get of a boost of double that, according to PwC.

The consultancy analyzed half a billion job postings from 15 countries to examine AI’s impact on employment, skills, wages, and productivity. In a report published Tuesday, it said that the 25% AI-skills premium in the U.S. tops the U.K.’s 14%, Canada’s 11%, Singapore’s 7%, and Australia’s 6%.

Drilling deeper into individual professions, PwC found that U.S. job ads for database designers and administrators that require AI skills offer wages that are 53% higher than ads in that category that don’t require AI skills.

That’s not surprising as data centers have been booming because generative AI technology requires massive amounts of capacity to train large language models like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. In fact, top AI chip supplier Nvidia reported revenue more than tripled in the first quarter, led by sales to data centers.

But lawyers can also boost their pay as well. Job postings in the U.S. that seek lawyers with AI skills promise wages that are 49% higher than ads for lawyers without AI skills.

Similarly, sales and marketing managers with AI skills can command a 43% wage bump, while financial analysts and accountants could see gains of 33% and 18%, respectively.

“Countries and sectors that have a high demand for AI skills tend to see higher wage premiums, especially if there is a scarcity of skilled professionals, whereas in areas where there is a more abundant supply of AI talent, lower premiums are more likely,” Mehdi Sahneh, senior economist at PwC UK, said in a statement. “Although on the surface lower wage premiums may sound less favorable, all else being equal, they suggest a balance between labour supply and demand, and could potentially foster greater AI adoption and innovation over the long term.”

The PwC also showed that certain “AI-exposed occupations” like customer service are seeing 27% slower job growth, suggesting AI is easing labor shortages.

The report pointed out that the data aren’t signaling an era of job losses, but instead a period of more gradual gains.

Still, some individual skills are soaring in demand while some that can be performed by AI are falling. For example, demand for AI/machine learning inference skills has shot up 113%, but demand for coding in Javascript, which can be replaced by AI, has fallen 37%, according to PwC. Elsewhere, demand for computer graphics skills is down 30%, and demand for cold calling skills is down 37%.

But other skills that require more person-to-person contact are seeing more demand. Yoga skills are up 426%, sports instruction 178%, child safeguarding 156%, and laser hair removal 84%.

“Many who predict AI will cause a sharp decline in job numbers are asking the wrong question,” PwC said. “Those who predict AI will have a negative impact on total job numbers often look backward, asking whether AI can perform some tasks in the same way as they have been done in the past. The answer is yes. But the right question to ask is this: How will AI give us the power to do entirely new things, generating new roles and even new industries?”

Earlier this month, the 2024 Annual Work Trend Index by Microsoft and LinkedIn found 71% of leaders preferred hiring candidates with AI skills over those with more conventional experience, and only 25% of firms plan to provide training in generative AI this year.

That could suggest an advantage for younger applicants with the report revealing that 77% of leaders intend to delegate increased responsibilities to early-career hires with AI proficiencies.



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