Many jobs requiring AI skills ‘carry significant average wage premium’

PwC’s inaugural 2024 Global AI Jobs Barometer analysed over half a billion job ads from 15 countries

Jobs that require artificial intelligence (AI) skills carry big average wage premiums in some markets, according to a new report from PwC.

PwC’s inaugural 2024 Global AI Jobs Barometer analysed more than half a billion job ads from 15 countries.

Across the five big labour markets for which wage data is available – the US, UK, Canada, Australia and Singapore – jobs that require AI specialist skills generally earn more.

“For many economies experiencing labour shortages and low productivity growth, the findings highlight optimism around AI, with the technology representing an opportunity for economic development, job-creation and the creation of new industries entirely,” David Lee, PwC Ireland chief technology officer, said. “However, the findings also show that workers will need to build new skills and organisations will need to invest in their AI strategies and people if they are to turbocharge their development and ensure they are fit for the AI age.”


“Ensuring a skills-first approach to recruitment as well as continued investment in workforce upskilling is imperative as no industry or market will remain immune to the impact of AI’s technological and economic transformation,” he added.

Across industries, in the US for example, the wage premium can range from 18 per cent for accountants, 33 per cent for financial analysts, 43 per cent for sales and marketing managers, to 49 per cent for lawyers.

Job ads for US sales managers that require AI specialist skills offer wages that are on average 43 per cent higher than job ads for sales managers that do not require AI skills.

Canada’s accountants can enjoy a 17 per cent wage premium if they have AI specialist skills, and UK employers are willing to pay a 27 per cent premium for lawyers equipped with AI skills.

While the wage premium differs by market, “overwhelmingly this is higher in all markets analysed,” the report said.

Sectors more exposed to AI are also experiencing almost five times higher growth in labour productivity, according to the report.

To capture AI’s impact on all jobs, PwC analysed all jobs and sectors by their level of “AI exposure”. A higher level of AI exposure means that AI can more readily be used for some tasks.

Examples of occupations with higher AI exposure are financial analysts, customer service agents, software coders and administration managers. The analysis revealed that sectors with higher AI exposure are experiencing much higher labour productivity growth.

Openings for jobs that require specialist AI skills have grown 3.5 times faster than openings for all jobs since 2012.

The report also suggests that AI could allow many nations to break out of persistent low productivity growth, generating economic development, higher wages and enhanced living standards.

In AI-exposed occupations such as customer services and IT – a number of which have acute labour shortages – jobs are still growing, but 27 per cent more slowly on average.

“This could be good news for many nations facing shrinking working age populations and vast unmet needs for labour in many sectors,” the report says. “AI can help to ensure that the labour supply is available for the economy to reach its full potential.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter