Deciphering the AI talent equation

05 Feb 2019

Deciphering the AI talent equation

As the promise of AI becomes clearer, the challenge remains to fuel this technology with the right talent to maximise its potential.

We look forward to welcoming Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt to our breakfast event on the 15th February, ‘Deciphering AI’.  We couldn’t ask for a more brilliant individual to lead the AI debate, erase myths and provide a clearer view forward.

It’s also an important opportunity to continue to focus on the skills and leadership required to really make the most of the advance and application of AI.

Pulling together

Like Sir Nigel, our view is that all partners in academia, industry and government should pull together to make AI and other technologies a reality.

To this end, last year, Odgers Berndtson launched a manifesto to expand technology skills in the UK. We urged the government to relax immigration controls, expand university funding and boost public/private partnerships to achieve its ambitions on innovation post Brexit.

More specifically, Odgers Berndtson called for centres of excellence in AI across the UK.

“We have many of the leading minds around AI and cognitive science in the UK, we just need to continue supporting the developing eco-system of talent to ensure we remain at the vanguard,” commented Michael Drew, Partner and Global Head of the Technology Practice at Odgers Berndtson.

“Applications for artificial intelligence in the commercial world are almost infinite, across all industries and sectors, but, in our experience, specialists in these fields are still relatively scarce. “

First step forward

Michael Drew continued, “Naturally, we’re delighted that a recent Government announcement has revealed that at least in the field of digital pathology and imaging, five new centres of excellence have been announced with £50 million worth of public funds.

“Using data, artificial intelligence and innovation promises to transform the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases. But to have the experienced talent to fuel this and other sectors, there are still challenges to be met.

“In our daily experience in executive search, major employers investing in the UK want to hire experienced talent in emerging tech, like AI. This talent remains scarce in comparison to the high demand.”

“Importantly, many of these talented and experienced individuals are non-UK citizens. The government needs to do more to allow highly skilled migrants in new specialist areas the right to remain and build long-term careers in the UK.

Of course, the current febrile political climate is not helping in this regard. We remain open to working in partnership wherever practical to ensure the practical applications of the  technologies that Sir Nigel will decipher for us shortly.”

Odgers Berndtson’s Global Tech Practice works with start-ups and established tech businesses around the world. Our deep industry and sector knowledge means we understand our clients’ strategic imperatives and how these impact on the senior leadership talent they need to attract and retain.

We forge deep relationships with our clients to ensure we understand their specific business goals and cultural dynamics, maximising our ability to identify and engage the best industry or cross-industry talent. Strong relationships with other Odgers Berndtson Partners in 62 offices across 29 countries deliver a seamless regional and global execution of searches, assessments and appointments. To find out more, please get in touch.

Sir Nigel Shadbolt is chairman of the Open Data Institute which he co-founded with Sir Tim Berners-Lee. One of the UK’s foremost computer scientists, he is a leading researcher in artificial intelligence and was one of the originators of the interdisciplinary field of web science. He is Principal of Jesus College Oxford, a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Oxford and a visiting Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Southampton.