Demand for AI skills falls, with ads 'extremely rare'

Demand for employees with generative artificial intelligence skills peaked the year ChatGPT was launched and has tapered off in the past two years, amid hype and concern over the impact of the technology.

Fresh analysis by jobs platform Seek in collaboration with Federal Assistant Minister for Employment Andrew Leigh, found AI jobs made up a sliver of total open roles and typically attracted higher salaries. 

To be detailed in a speech by Dr Leigh on Tuesday, the findings follow growing anxiety among creative professions, such as voice artists, about work theft and job losses driven by AI.

Generative AI creates text, images or other media by drawing from massive pools of data and its uses are varied, from being put to use by financial institutions to detect fraud to carers to tailor bed-time stories to their audiences.

ChatGPT, launched in 2022 and owned by OpenAI, is a "large language model" program with an interactive chatbot that creates the media output based on instructions from the user. 

Yet as heard by a Senate inquiry into the matter, the technology poses challenges as well as opportunities.

In the federal budget, $39.9 million was committed to developing AI policies and restrictions over the next five years.

Andrew Leigh
Andrew Leigh will discuss findings of research into demand for AI-related jobs.

Dr Leigh will say there is "considerable interest" in how the technology will shift dynamics in the jobs market, including its potential to save workers time and make them more productive.

Higher demand for skills needed to work with AI models is also an expected consequence of the technology's spread, the assistant minister will say.

Demand for AI skills had tripled since 2017 but jobs remain "extremely rare", Dr Leigh will tell the Australian Bureau of Statistics and Reserve Bank of Australia joint conference on human capital in Sydney. 

One in every 588 open roles on Seek met the definition of an AI job - which included mentions of technical keywords - with those numbers shrinking as a proportion of total jobs between 2022 and 2024.

Similar patterns were found when isolating job ads that simply mentioned "artificial intelligence" in the post.

Unsurprisingly, AI jobs were most prevalent in science, technology and research roles, making up 6.3 per cent of all mathematical science professional ads. 

But hiring in the sector has been sluggish overall, as economic uncertainty takes a toll. 

In April, information and communication technology job ads were down 33.4 per cent compared to the year before, a bigger fall than any other sector based on separate Seek data.

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