Finding AI Talent Using Location Intelligence

18th October 2018
Esri UK

Finding AI Talent Using Location Intelligence

Job postings for artificial intelligence (AI)-related roles nearly doubled in the US between 2015 and 2018, while searches for those roles increased 182 percent, according to job website New York and Silicon Valley headlined the list of regions with the most AI-related jobs, with major cities from coast to coast rounding out the top 10.

AI’s job growth rate illustrates its expanding role in business. Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president of AI at Microsoft, said in a recent podcast that most large-scale work will eventually be powered at least in part by artificial intelligence.

“Every type of customer support will be AI-infused,” Sirosh predicted, adding that companies will use AI “to understand their customers, manage their supply chain, set optimal pricing, and create great experiences.”

As the Indeed study underscores, companies that haven’t yet invested in AI and machine learning might consider whether their competitors already have.

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Recruitment Strategies for AI Roles

In an economy marked by labour shortages, the field of AI is no exception. In its report, Indeed observed that a significant percentage of jobs remained unfilled for 60 or more days.

“Skills to build AI capabilities […] are still in short supply,” Sirosh said in his interview. “That profession will blossom. Every computing department, every computer science department teaches AI as a fundamental course now. So, it will change. It just takes a little time.”

In the meantime, businesses that hope to compete for today’s limited AI talent could benefit from location intelligence—drawn from the data in Indeed’s AI report and other sources.

Since AI is an emerging field, many professionals with the skills to apply AI in business are recent college graduates. Different types of graduates fill distinct roles in the emerging AI space, so companies must clearly define their AI strategy before crafting a talent recruitment plan.

For instance, companies focused on customer service may need graduates with natural language processing skills to build chatbots and other AI-driven customer experiences. Others could seek professionals who can build AI models to forecast retail markets. Knowing where to find candidates is the next step.

An HR executive might first identify key skill sets that will advance the company’s AI goals, then map the schools and geographic areas with recent graduates who have complementary AI skills.

After assessing the AI landscape and locating promising talent centres, executives can launch targeted recruiting programs. A program might focus on drawing talent to the company’s existing locations, staffing satellite offices in areas of talent concentration, or both.

To draw high-value AI talent to the company’s existing offices, executives might undertake initiatives to make their headquarters more attractive to Millennials and Generation Z recruits. Companies could also partner with local economic development agencies to enhance and market their city’s appeal.

An alternative is to take the office to the talent. Some companies have chosen to establish satellite offices or centres of excellence near hotbeds of AI and machine learning. Pittsburgh is a recent example of this phenomenon. Companies like Uber, Ford, and Delphi flocked to the city in recent years, hoping to snag alumni from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh who could fuel their autonomous driving efforts.

Choosing the right neighbourhood for a headquarters or satellite office can make or break a company’s ability to attract talent. Location intelligence, powered by a geographic information system (GIS), reveals the demographics of neighbourhoods, ensuring that a company can situate itself in an area attractive to young AI grads.

One of the selling points of artificial intelligence and machine learning is their growing ability to help business executives make better decisions, faster.

Future Focus for AI Jobs

Companies that don’t plan to add their own AI team will still need an AI strategy to stay competitive in years to come. Some might consider outsourcing to compensate for the limited talent supply reported by Indeed.

The first step, however, is to identify the specific business opportunities AI and machine learning would address. Then, executives can work on finding appropriate talent or a service provider.

Taking a challenge-first approach and analysing all available data, including location intelligence, will illuminate the type of candidates who should fill new AI roles, where those candidates are, and how a company might attract them.


Photo courtesy of Andre Hunter.


This article was originally published in the global edition of WhereNext.