AI Talent in the European Labour Market

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a hotly debated topic, particularly in the context of its impact on the labour market and the workforce. These vital discussions are all too often based on assumptions and desktop projections rather than on concrete, objective data.

New research from LinkedIn’s Economic Graph uncovers novel, evidence-based insights into the state of AI talent development in the European Union (EU) labour market, and identifies emerging trends that can help inform policymaking in this area. 

As detailed in a blog post by Sue Duke, Vice President and Head of Global Public Policy at LinkedIn, key findings included:

  • The European Commission has clear ambitions and goals for AI, but right now Europe is lagging behind its peers in developing talent. The U.S. employs twice as many AI-skilled individuals than the EU, despite the American total labour force being just half the size. But our research also reveals that Europe can catch up quickly: training and upskilling “near-AI” talent could double the size of the current AI workforce in the EU.   

  • Industrial champions in Europe, such as the auto and manufacturing in Germany, finance in the UK, healthcare in Belgium and telecommunications in Finland, are currently magnets for AI talent. And it follows that large, well-established companies are most likely to be first adopters of AI in the EU -- in contrast to what we see in the U.S., where startups and digital natives are the earliest adopters of the technology. With the right approach from policymakers to encourage building these strong, foundational AI ecosystems, these industries can help diffuse AI skills and talent more broadly into the economy.

  • AI skills in Europe are concentrated in a small number of countries and industries, and dominated by men. Among the starkest gaps is in gender: only 16% of AI workers are women. This poses pressing risks -- not only are unequal, homogenous workforces less productive, but gender and diversity imbalances more broadly in the AI workforce makes AI systems development more vulnerable to bias. Unless this imbalance is addressed, Europe risks widening the digital gap and leaving a significant number of countries and sectors left behind in the push to digitise our economy and society.

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