UK firms slug it out as battle intensifies for AI experts

recruit2The fight to attract the best artificial intelligence talent continues to rage across the UK, with data scientists the most in demand roles last month, followed by senior data scientists and machine learning engineers.

That is according to the latest data from recruitment specialist WilsonHCG, which reports that, despite an overall 2.5% fall in job postings in March – the fifth consecutive month of decline – demand for AI specialists remains robust, with 2,971 AI-specific job openings reported in March 2024.

However, the number of job postings for remote roles is down, as more organisations continue to push for a return to office.

In March, 4.4% of jobs in the UK were listed as fully remote, down on the 5.8% reported in January 2023. Hybrid job postings have, however, seen a gradual uptick over the past 12 months, increasing by 0.5 percentage points between March 2023 and 2024.

WilsonHCG executive vice-president Craig Sweeney said: “The slowdown in hiring is perhaps expected given the economic climate, while the drop in remote job postings does suggest that even more employers are opting for a return to office.

“Given the positive impact that more flexible working practices can have on diverse recruitment and employee retention, it’s encouraging to see that hybrid working options are slowly increasing.

“More broadly, the data suggests that demand for AI specialists is continuing to rise. And it shows no signs of slowing, particularly with the latest news that Microsoft is launching an AI hub in London.

“The demand for AI expertise is growing across businesses of all sizes, so competition for both general and specialist AI skills is going to intensify over the coming months. Employers need to ensure they’re in a position to both bring in new resources and expand and grow skillsets within the business to create a sustainable talent pool.”

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