Oho Reviews The Impact Of AI On The 2020 Jobs Market

5 mins

As we continue to explore how AI will impact our core sectors in 2020 and beyond, Oho Director Roger Wilkinson, who specialises in machine learning recruitment, addresses everything that employers need to know to attract the top talent and how candidates can keep abreast of the key trends.


Can you talk about AI within your industry? Why do you think this is going to be more prominent in 2020?


It will be possible to receive funding for future technologies. The Government has devised an AI Sector Deal to increase industry productivity and help businesses realise all of AI’s social and economic benefits through a £2.5 billion investment fund. This deal aims to place the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution and another way it will do so is by creating a national retraining scheme that supports people to reskill. This will begin with a £64 million investment for digital and construction training.


Once a buzzword, AI, which in fact emerged in the 1940s, has built up momentum to the point that we are seeing tangible results; from intelligent personal assistants that can prepare us for changes in the weather, to systems that protect our money from criminals and devices that offer medical advice from the comfort of our own home. This is only the start and the potential of AI is undeniable. The next challenge will be to harness this technology to transform how we diagnose diseases, manufacture goods and build our homes.


The funding means that innovative businesses will be able to create robust AI models which provide real solutions and this will need to be supported by the best candidates, making it a very attractive area to hire from.


What type of Industry/companies/job roles will be affected by AI? 


Rather than resulting in job losses, I believe that AI will help to make us better at what we do and more secure in our careers as we adapt to a host of exciting new opportunities.


The following sectors are likely to be affected:




Following a £50 million boost into healthcare AI in 2018, this is set to be one of the biggest technologies to impact the space over the coming years. It will lead to advances in medical imaging, ophthalmology, surgical outcomes and personalised care.


Financial services


AI will be increasingly used in this sphere to make credit decisions, recapture lost revenue, manage risk, prevent fraud, make trading and data driven investments, facilitate personalised banking and automate repetitive processes.


Stock control


AI can be applied here to assist with inventory monitoring, data mining, robot automation, while reducing forecasting errors and improving customer satisfaction.


These developments across multiple sectors will result in an increased demand for new skills and companies need to consider both upskilling their existing workforce and recruiting new talent. Businesses which are developing AI technologies will require top IT and electronic engineering candidates to support their product development, whatever that might be.


What advice would you give to a client within your sector looking to recruit talent to support AI? 


I believe that, with all of the investment currently being poured into AI and the intriguing opportunities it has to offer, it is relatively easy to find candidates who have a keen interest in AI. 


Ensure that you are open and honest about what the role entails and manage expectations. Salaries have increased in recent years. For example, a candidate with a PhD in machine learning would expect to command a salary of more than £80,000.


While AI is in its infancy, there are people who possess the skills to positively impact a business straight away. Other candidates may require specific on the job training so you will need to have the means to provide this where necessary.


Think about the placement in question and offer flexibility. Failure to do so can result in losing an ideal candidate. Larger firms are currently building remote teams, which is why businesses need to be more creative in order to attract the best talent.


What do candidates who specialise in AI expect from an employer?


A lot of people have a strong desire to work in this industry and they tend to have very specific skill-sets around machine learning and computer sciences. To get what you want and need from an employer, be clear about what you expect from a role.


Ensure that the role you are looking into offers the right technical challenges and is interesting. Research the business and check the calibre of the team and the projects that they are working on. You will get a feel for how much AI is actually involved and if they can support you with the right training and equipment to successfully do your job. Research the backgrounds of the other members of the team and find out what their professional interests include. Some of the most interesting clients might have a deceptively small team that is in fact carrying out groundbreaking work.


What do you think will follow on from this trend? AI is always changing and progressing. Do you think this will lead to the rise or development of anything else later in the year?


The next trend will be around eco-related organisations and developing technology which will have a positive impact on the world. Examples include autonomous vehicles, climate prediction, connected cities and smart agriculture and disaster response.


In addition, forward-thinking businesses can level up the usefulness of their data by monetising it. This is the process of turning existing data into new revenue streams by spotting patterns and trends and AI makes this even more easy to achieve. It allows businesses to expand financially, make savings and increase customer engagement. It is worth noting that Cambridge Analytics had the ability to change voting decisions based on behaviour patterns and data that had been collected, such is its power.


Can you recommend any industry sources for up-to-date AI information? Have you read anything recently about this particular tech?


The best approach is to arrange face-to-face meetings to discuss the specific projects that people are working on. This is because a lot of published articles are based on the potential of the product rather than the actual capabilities. 


While it can be useful to talk about the theory behind AI, the practical work is far more interesting, which is why you should aim to get an insight into what is happening at a granular level. 


One of the buzzwords I frequently see is cryptocurrency, a digital asset which is designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions. It will be interesting to observe, going forward, how AI proves to be an integral part of cryptocurrency’s high volume transaction security.


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