The uptake of artificial intelligence will drastically change the UK job market, with up to a third of jobs being automated or likely to change as a result of the emergence of the technology, but those skilled in data management, capture and integration will be the main beneficiaries.
According to a new report - Harnessing the Power of AI: The Demand for Future Skills - from global recruiter Robert Walters and market analysis experts Vacancy Soft, AI will affect 10.5 million UK workers but create 133 million new jobs worldwide.
Ollie Sexton, principal at Robert Walters, said: "As businesses become ever more reliant on AI, there is an increasing amount of pressure on the processes of data capture and integration. As a result, we have seen an unprecedented number of roles being created with data skill-set at their core.
"Our job force cannot afford to not get to grips with data and digitalisation. Since 2015, the volume of data created worldwide has more than doubled – increasing (on average) by 28% year-on-year.
"Now is the perfect time to start honing UK talent for the next generation of AI-influenced jobs. If you look at the statistics in this report, we can see that demand is already rife, what we are at risk of is a shortage of talent and skills."
IT professionals dedicated to data management appear to be the fastest growing area within large or global entities, with volumes increasing tenfold in three years – an increase in vacancies of 160% since 2015.
More generally speaking, data roles across the board have increased by 80% since 2015 – with key areas of growth including data scientists, vacancies up 110% year-on-year, and data engineers, which have seen an average year-on-year job growth of 86%.
The rise of cybercrime has resulted in professional services - particularly within banking and financial services - hiring aggressively for information security professionals since 2016, however since then volumes have held steady.
Within professional services, vacancies for data analysts (+19.5%), data manager (+64.2%), data scientist (+28.8), and data engineer (+62%) have all increased year-on-year.
The top ten industries investing in AI include: agriculture, business support, customer experience, energy, healthcare, intellectual property, IT service management, manufacturing, technical support, and retail.
Robert Walters advanced anayltics and engineering manager Tom Chambers said: "The uptake of AI across multiple industries is bringing about rapid change, but with that opportunity. Particularly, we are seeing retail, professional services and technology industries’ strive to develop digital products and services that are digitally engaging, secure and instantaneous for the customer.
"This in turn is leading to huge waves of recruitment of professionals who are skilled in implementing, monitoring and gaining the desired output from facial recognition, check-out free retail and computer vision, among other automation technologies.
"Similarly, experimental AI is making huge breakthroughs in the healthcare industry, with the power to replace the need for human, expert diagnoses.
"What we are seeing is from those businesses that are prepared to invest heavily in AI and data analytics, is they are already outperforming their competitors – and so demand for talent in this area shows no signs of wavering."