Identifying APEC’s AI talent: who are they and what do they do?

Beijing Global

We know that AI and emerging technologies will have an impact on the global workforce, no matter where we live and work. But before we can figure out how to prepare for the jobs of the future, we need a better understanding of what “AI jobs” actually look like, who is filling them, and where those people live.

Tapping into our Economic Graph data, we were able to take a close look into five APEC economies where AI talent is high: Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, and the San Francisco Bay Area. We used machine learning to develop a standardized way to identify AI talent, and also explore skills and employment search for AI talent.

Here’s what our data revealed:

AI is becoming more prevalent across traditionally non-tech industries.

  • Outside of the tech industry, AI professionals are heavily concentrated in education, manufacturing, and finance.
  • Within the tech, manufacturing, and finance industries, AI talent typically fill software engineering and data scientist roles. In the education sector, AI talent more often fill researcher and professor roles.
  • While tech is the top industry where AI talent works, we saw geographical specialization in certain regions. For example, education was the top industry for AI talent in Singapore.

Programming skills are important, but many AI professionals have non-engineering backgrounds and bring critical soft skills to the workplace.

  • Seven out of the top 10 pertinent skills possessed by AI professionals are programming languages. Among those programming languages, we found Python is the most popular: about 35% of AI professionals list it as a skill on their profiles.
  • More than half of the AI professionals have a non-engineering background. While a large proportion has studied Computer Science (35%), a significant portion (15%) has either a physical or social science degree.
  • Soft skills like leadership, management, and public speaking are rising in importance for AI professionals: 30% of these workers list soft skills on their profiles.

There is a stark gender gap: only 20% of the AI professionals in APEC are female.

  • The overall representation of women in the workforce is already biased, with females representing about 40% of the workforce in APEC countries. This gender difference becomes even more prominent among AI professionals, as only 20% of the AI professionals are female.
  • As the demand for AI skills expands, there is a risk that it could perpetuate or further widen the gender and equity gap that already exists within the technology sector.

These insights about who AI professionals are - from where they live to what their backgrounds are - can help governments, academic researchers and business leaders  around the world make better-informed decisions about how to invest in and grow AI talent, and how to prepare the workforce for the future.


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