Watchdogs Struggle to Hire AI Talent


  • Regulators worldwide are struggling to hire AI experts due to high demand and competition from the private sector.
  • Public sector salaries and lengthy hiring processes make it difficult to attract top talent.
  • The United States offers competitive salaries and streamlined hiring to attract AI experts.

The demand for AI talent has skyrocketed since the release of ChatGPT by OpenAI in late 2022. This surge has created a fierce competition for talent, with regulators forced to compete with the private sector for a limited pool of qualified individuals. Industry insiders point to a combination of factors hindering recruitment efforts, including relatively low salaries, lengthy hiring processes, and visa complications.

This struggle is not limited to Italy. Other public bodies within the European Union (EU) are likely to face similar challenges, especially as the bloc rolls out some of the most comprehensive AI regulations globally. The newly established EU AI Office, tasked with enforcing the AI Act, and the European Centre for Algorithmic Transparency (ECAT) are actively recruiting. However, EU lawmaker Dragos Tudorache, who played a key role in drafting the AI Act, expressed concerns about securing the necessary manpower for enforcement.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom (UK) is also actively building its own AI regulatory infrastructure through its AI Safety Institute. Many of the advertised positions in these public sector organizations offer salaries significantly lower than industry standards and seem geared towards recent graduates. Experts warn that this approach could deter the most experienced and qualified candidates.

The AI talent pool Dries up as the US sets the pace

Governments worldwide are increasingly recognizing the need for AI expertise to effectively supervise this rapidly evolving technology. However, the United States stands out in its willingness to offer higher salaries and implement flexible recruitment processes. Under President Joe Biden, the U.S. Office for Personnel Management (OPM) has empowered government agencies to expedite the hiring of AI specialists as part of a broader “talent surge” initiative. This initiative streamlines the usual recruitment process, allowing agencies to secure qualified personnel quickly.

A recent example is the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) groundbreaking initiative to establish a first-of-its-kind “AI Corps.” This program aims to recruit 50 AI experts and offers competitive salaries – DHS job postings advertise IT specialist positions focused on AI with a salary of $143,000 per year, aligning with private sector rates. This stands in stark contrast to the compensation offered by some EU agencies like the AI Office and ECAT, which range from 50,000 to 60,000 euros (approximately $65,166) – a significant disparity.

While the UK’s AI Safety Institute has offered more competitive salaries for senior positions, reaching up to £135,000 ($170,829), other roles within the organization are advertised at substantially lower rates. This inconsistency raises concerns about the UK’s ability to attract a well-rounded team of experts. However, the institute’s chair, Ian Hogarth, emphasized that some technical experts are drawn by the institute’s mission to ensure the safety of AI models, not just high salaries.

A race against time

Last month, a report by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, a policy advisory body, urged the UK government to loosen recruitment restrictions, salary caps, and implement new work visas for tech talent. The report’s Chief Policy Strategist, Benedict Macon-Cooney, emphasized the need for a “fundamental mindset shift” in terms of skills and culture within government institutions. He argues that attracting the necessary AI talent requires governments to not only ask the right questions but also find solutions to the regulatory challenges posed by AI.

The global race to secure AI expertise for regulatory purposes is just beginning. The question remains: can regulatory bodies around the world adapt their recruitment strategies and compete effectively with the private sector to ensure the responsible development and deployment of AI?

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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Aamir Sheikh

Amir is a media, marketing and content professional working in the digital industry. A veteran in content production Amir is now an enthusiastic cryptocurrency proponent, analyst and writer.

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