The UK job market is saturated with AI roles, with one-third of all ads seeking AI-savvy staff

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AI roles represent nearly one-third (27%) of all advertisements on the UK job market, according to new research from Thomson Reuters. 

Out of 6,073 roles promoted online in January 2024, Thomson Reuters recorded AI skills as a fundamental requirement in 1,652 of them. The firm said the rapid surge in job ads requiring AI skills shows the sharpened industry focus on the technology and continued efforts to poach relevant staff.

“Demand for AI skills across professions is accelerating at a remarkable pace”, said Mary Alice Vuicic, Thomson Reuters’ head of HR and communications.

“AI-focused jobs requirements have gone from being quite limited to being over a quarter of all new IT roles in a very short time”, she added.

Even those not in the market for a new job will need to get up to speed.

A separate Thomson Reuters report showed that 90% of professionals expect basic AI training to become mandatory over the next five years.

Similarly, the study found 91% of C-suite board directors intend to either use generative AI or have plans to do so in the next 18 months. This heightened industry focus on AI development, the study noted, means securing relevant talent has become a business-critical objective.

The sectors looking most likely to benefit from these changes are the legal and accounting sectors, which both cite productivity as their top priority - 75% and 59% respectively.

Specialist AI roles that boast titles like “Head of Large Language Models” and “Global Knowledge Systems Architect” are just some that have entered the legal profession in recent months.

“In 2024, Generative AI will permeate all aspects of work. It will enable augmentation and automation, and lead to the redefinition of roles and organizations and the fostering of new job categories," Vuicic added.

“Our research shows business leaders recognize the immense value the technology presents as both a tool for internal transformation and a competitive advantage”.

AI roles command a serious premium

While the volume of AI roles continues to increase, the price tag associated with such positions is also skyrocketing, research shows. 

A recent study from AWS and Access Partnership earlier this month found that some employers were willing to pay a premium of up to 31% for IT workers with AI skills, highlighting the competitive demand for this new workforce. 

While 31% was the asking price for AI skills in the IT department, businesses are also willing to fork out in other areas. 

Respondents to the AWS survey said they were willing to pay a premium of 27% for those with AI expertise in sales, marketing, and finance, while roles in business operations, legal, and HR could fetch salary bumps of 26%, 25%, and 24% respectively.


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A key factor at play in this current salary boom centers around the availability of relevant talent, alternative research shows. 

A study by Salesforce in March 2023 warned that businesses globally could face a significant skills deficit amid heightened focus on the use of generative AI tools.

Salesforce found that only one-in-ten workers globally considered themselves to have relevant AI skills. Business leaders have also raised serious concerns about their organizations' ability to develop AI skills in-house, with a study from Skillsoft showing many are "ill-equipped" to upskill staff in this domain.

George Fitzmaurice
Staff Writer

George Fitzmaurice is a staff writer at ITPro, ChannelPro, and CloudPro, with a particular interest in AI regulation, data legislation, and market development. After graduating from the University of Oxford with a degree in English Language and Literature, he undertook an internship at the New Statesman before starting at ITPro. Outside of the office, George is both an aspiring musician and an avid reader.