Market News

City banks race to hire AI experts in their thousands - EVENING STANDARD

JUNE 07, 2023

Artificial Intelligence recruitment has surged among Britain’s biggest banks as they jostle to attract top talent to thousands of new roles.

Barclays hired as many as 1,374 staff in AI roles between February and April, according to data from insights business Evident, while 30 per cent of job descriptions for NatWest’s hires were AI-related.

The 60 largest North American and European banks now employ around 46,000 people in AI development, data engineering and governance and ethics roles, with as many as 100,000 global banking roles involved in bringing AI to market. Some 40 per cent of AI staff in these banks have started their current roles since January 2022.

But there are also fears the UK’s banks could be falling behind their US counterparts, with American giant JPMorgan hiring twice as many AI-related jobs as any of its rivals.

Alexandra Mousavizadeh, Evident’s chief executive, said: “There’s been a flurry of recruitment activity across the industry. AI is the one area of banking where people are being brought on in growing numbers, and our data shows that banks are competing ferociously to secure the best talent.

“But the UK’s strength as a global financial services powerhouse remains its weakness when it comes to supporting domestic banks’ AI hiring efforts.

History is repeating itself, with AI reinforcing the global power dynamics we’ve seen in banking over the past few decades.”

The move comes despite a flurry of warnings from top tech experts over the potential dangers of AI development, with industry leaders calling for urgent regulation and some going as far as to demand an immediate pause on further research. The Labour party earlier this week called for a licensing regime for businesses with AI operations, like those used for medicines and nuclear power.

Evident’s Annabel Ayles said: “Less encouraging is the apparent lack of focus on recruiting talent dedicated to ensuring the safe and responsible use of these powerful new technologies.

“With all industries likely to face scrutiny from regulators around AI adoption, banks may be missing an opportunity to get ahead of the curve.”


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