Salary Trends in GenAI – One of the Lucrative Jobs in the 21st Century

Pankaj Singh 22 Apr, 2024
7 min read

Introduction

The birth of AI in the 1950s, its maturation in the 1960s, and the boom in the 1980s have resulted in today’s GenAI era—a generation witnessing the culmination of decades of innovation, laying the foundation for unprecedented advancements in technology, society, and beyond.

GenAI, a subset of artificial intelligence, is known for increased efficiency, improved results, and better decision-making due to its advanced algorithms, robust data processing capabilities, and ability to adapt to evolving circumstances.

But where are we today?

Milestones in the last few years:

BERT (Google, 2018), GPT-3 (OpenAI, 2020), Dall-E (OpenAI, 2021), Stable Diffusion (Stability AI, LMU Munich, 2022), ChatGPT (OpenAI, 2022), Mixtral (Mistral, 2023) and counting…

With these models leading the GenAI ecosystem, it is said that GenAI will eliminate around 85 million jobs globally. If you SQUINT at this, it is natural and obvious. 

As per WEF, with elimination, more jobs are created in the GenAI era. It would generate around 97 million new jobs in fields ranging from big data and machine learning to information security and digital marketing.

Complementing the trend and requirement – Did you know Netflix, NVIDIA, Meta, Capital One, and other tech and non-tech giants are offering around $1 million salaries for generative AI roles?

Fascinating, right?

GenAI

AI Companies Pouring Money on GenAI Roles

Worldwide corporations are experiencing a surge in GenAI recruitment, with certain entities offering salaries nearing the million-dollar mark to secure top-tier professionals. Businesses across sectors like entertainment and manufacturing are eagerly pursuing opportunities presented by generative artificial intelligence, actively seeking out data scientists, machine learning experts, and other professionals proficient in implementing GenAI technology.

The current generative AI wave and intense competition for top AI talent drive the soaring salaries offered for AI-related roles across industries.

A Few Key Observations:

  1. The exorbitant salaries, like $900k for an AI product manager at Netflix and principal engineer AI in HubSpot with $427,000 or $520k for an AI safety role at Anthropic, seem eye-popping. However, they likely reflect the immense value and competitive advantage that cutting-edge AI capabilities can provide companies in entertainment, search, advertising, etc.
  2. Big tech firms and companies across sectors, from dating apps to retail, recognize how AI can transform their products/services and aggressively recruit the specialized skills required.
  3. There appears to be a premium on leadership roles that can strategically guide and monetize AI efforts – roles like AI product managers, VPs of AI strategy, etc.
  4. Demand for this GenAI talent pool seems to be outstripping supply, allowing prospective hires to command such high compensation packages in a heated job market.

Whether these salaries are truly “warranted” is debatable. Critics may argue that they reflect the GenAI hiring fever and bubble-like mentality. Proponents would say the market is forcing companies to pay for the scarce AI skills that will drive future revenues. but we think the true measure of their worth lies in the value they bring to society. As the need for GenAI applications grows and businesses rely more heavily on these technologies for efficiency and innovation, the demand for skilled professionals also escalates. Consequently, the salaries offered reflect not just the scarcity of talent but also the critical role these individuals play in shaping the future of work and industry.

If you are considering only tech or AI companies hiring for GenAI roles, then you are overlooking a vast landscape of opportunities. Non-tech are equally participating in the search for the best GenAI expert. For instance, the Dating app Hinge hired a VP for AI to oversee its AI strategy for a salary of $398,000. intriguing, right?

Ultimately, companies are making calculated bets that acquiring elite AI talent at these prices will pay off manyfold if they can leverage AI to gain an edge over competitors. The generative AI wave has made AI a must-have capability rather than a nice-to-have. Time will tell if this high-priced AI talent can meet lofty expectations.

Can You Earn $1 Million Annually in this GenAI Era? 

Absolutely, Yes.

If you have the GenAI skills required for the job you are applying for, you can earn more than that.

According to Adzuna, the number of jobs requiring Generative AI skills has grown almost 9X since January. These jobs require an average of 5+ years of experience with Generative AI tools and frameworks like GPT-4 or PaLM-2.

In the report by “The South China Morning Post,”  China is enticing AI talent with lucrative salary incentives due to a significant shortage in supply compared to soaring demand. The report highlights that professionals adept in GenAI skills, particularly in computer vision engineering, enjoy a substantial premium, with salaries reaching up to two-thirds higher than those lacking such expertise. Moreover, individuals pursuing roles in non-technical domains, such as account sales or graphics and visual design, experience heightened compensation when equipped with GenAI proficiency.

Similarly, US, UK and India is also looking for talented GenAI experts.

Moreover, according to the job post on Indeed, Bytedance, Capital Group Companies, and other giants are offering $210,000 – $358,000 and $148,045 – $236,872 a year for Generative AI roles.

You can also read: Top 9 Generative AI Skills You Should Learn.

Let’s talk about the Market size of GenAI:

If you ask me about the Market size of Generative AI worldwide, then, as per Statista – The Generative AI market is poised for remarkable expansion, with projections indicating a substantial surge in its market size. 

Anticipated to reach an impressive US$36.06 billion by 2024, the sector is set to demonstrate an annual growth rate of 46.47% from 2024 to 2030, culminating in a staggering market volume of US$356.10 billion by the end of the decade. The United States is expected to lead the global landscape with the largest market size, forecasted at US$11.66 billion in 2024. These promising figures underscore the burgeoning opportunities and heightened significance of Generative AI across diverse industries on a global scale. 

A few key factors are driving salaries into the seven-figure range for some AI roles:

  1. Scarcity of Top AI Talent There is an acute shortage of individuals with advanced skills in machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, computer vision, etc. The supply cannot meet the soaring demand from tech giants and companies across industries looking to capitalize on generative AI.
  2. Intense Competition Companies like Netflix, Microsoft, Google, Meta, and many others are engaged in an “AI talent war,” aggressively trying to hire away the best AI researchers, engineers, and product leaders from one another. This bidding war dynamic drives salaries ever higher.
  3. High Value Creation Potential AI is viewed as a tremendously valuable technology that can create new revenue streams, efficiency gains, and competitive advantages. Companies are willing to pay a premium for the talent that can unlock and monetize these AI capabilities.
  4. Leadership and Strategy Roles The highest salaries seem to be for AI leadership roles like VP of AI Strategy, Chief AI Officer, AI Product Manager, etc. These individuals chart the strategic AI roadmap and are directly responsible for the impact of AI-driven business.

In 2024, the GenAI landscape sees numerous companies offering $1 million, indicating that seven-figure compensation is within reach for the most sought-after AI professionals who can command top dollar.

However, while such lucrative sums are possible for elite roles, most AI positions likely still fall within the hundreds of thousands. Yet, in this generative AI era, companies show a willingness to invest significantly in key roles, reflecting the industry’s evolving trends.

Country Wise Salary Trend for GenAI

GenAI
Source: SEMRUSH

Here is the country-wise salary trend for GenAI all over the world:

India

  • GenAI engineers/developers in India earn an average salary ranging from ₹12-25 lakhs ($15,000-$51,000) per year.
  • Major tech hubs like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune offer higher salaries than other cities.
  • Salaries depend on experience, skills, company, and role (engineer, researcher, etc.).

United States

  • The average salary for GenAI professionals in the US is around $148,045 – $1000000 per year.
  • Major tech giants like Google, OpenAI, and Anthropic tend to pay towards the higher end of this range.
  • Highly experienced engineers/researchers, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area, can earn up to $300,000+.

United Kingdom

  • GenAI salaries in the UK average around £120,000 – £150,000 per year.
  • London offers the highest salaries, often exceeding £100,000 for senior roles.
  • Factors like company reputation, specific AI expertise, and years of experience influence salaries.

It’s important to note that salaries can vary significantly based on cost of living, company budgets, competition for talent, and an individual’s negotiation skills. Equity/stock compensation is often a substantial part of total pay at GenAI startups and Big Tech companies.

What are the Resources on GenAI for High-Paying Jobs?

Here are some useful resources for learning about and preparing for high-paying jobs in the generative AI field:

  1. Get started with GenAI: The course “Generative AI for Everyone” introduces beginners to the concepts of generative AI, covering its workings, common use cases, and capabilities. Following this, the course on “Generative AI Tools” delves into using popular tools such as ChatGPT and Midjourney. 
  2. Prompt Engineering: We recommend starting with Codecademy’s course on Prompt Engineering to grasp the basics. For a more comprehensive understanding, there’s a detailed guide available that covers various aspects of prompt engineering, such as zero-shot learning, few-shot learning, and chain-of-thought learning. 

Moreover, after completing prompt engineering, go for the LLMs resources, RLHF, and diffusion models. In the guide, the Ultimate List of Generative AI Resources, you will find all the resources that will lead you to high-paying GenAI jobs. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, the rise of Generative AI (GenAI) has reshaped the job market, fueling demand for skilled professionals. Milestones like BERT, GPT-3, and Dall-E have spurred GenAI advancements, prompting heavy company investments across sectors.

Intense competition among tech giants has driven up salaries for GenAI roles, with some reaching million-dollar packages. Leadership positions like AI product managers command top pay, while technical roles offer significant compensation, particularly in the US and UK.

The Generative AI market is set for substantial growth, projected to reach billions by the decade’s end. With increasing demand, individuals can tap into resources and courses to access lucrative job opportunities. Elite professionals may secure million-dollar salaries, reflecting GenAI’s enduring importance across industries.

So, what are your thoughts on GenAI being the new Data Science(regarding job popularity)? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Pankaj Singh 22 Apr, 2024

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