Artificial Intelligence Jobs in the United Kingdom: Who’s Hiring and Why?

Key Findings:

  • Insights from Job Postings: Online job postings from Glassdoor help reveal which UK employers are hiring AI talent today — and offer insights about which sectors of the British economy may be most impacted by workplace automation in coming years.
  • UK AI Hiring: Overall we found 120 unique AI-related jobs hiring in the UK on Glassdoor — a similar percentage of the overall workforce as in the United States. This suggests British employers are investing in AI talent at a pace similar to their U.S. counterparts.
  • AI Salary Ranges: Base pay for AI jobs in our sample ranged from an estimated £84,000 per year for senior leadership roles down to as low as £25,000 per year for student internships, with a median base pay of £44,968 per year — about 1.6 times higher than the U.K. median salary of £28,450 per year. However, most AI jobs pay far above these figures once bonuses, stock compensation, and other non-base-pay are included.
  • Top AI Employers: Among employers, two of the top five hiring for AI roles today are in healthcare — Babylon Health and IQVIA — suggesting big changes in workplace automation are on the way for health jobs. Other top employers include media giant BBC, along with several tech employers: Imagination Technologies, Tractable, Microsoft, and Amazon.
  • Types of AI Jobs: Most AI jobs open today are technical: Software engineers and data scientists lead the pack. However, there are many non-technical AI jobs being created in the UK today as well, including strategy consultants, product managers, recruiters, and more as AI products and services become more mainstream.
  • Areas with AI Jobs: Among areas, most AI-related jobs today lie in a geographic “golden triangle” between London, Cambridge and Reading, an area that also includes nearby towns of Slough and Hemel Hempstead. Taken together, 75 percent of AI jobs in the UK are hiring in this region.
  • AI and The Future of Work: Just as it’s often said that “demography is destiny,” job postings today can offer powerful clues about the labour market of tomorrow. Our analysis of AI job postings on Glassdoor suggests a wide variety of employers are investing in AI talent today — a trend likely to accelerate in coming decades.

When it comes to the future of work, artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to impact nearly every facet of the UK workforce in some way. But while there are widespread fears that growing AI will cause job losses, there is little research on which UK employers are investing in AI talent today — hiring the software engineers and data scientists who build the AI products and tools that are likely to impact jobs in the future.

How many companies are actively hiring for AI jobs in the United Kingdom today? Which industries are investing in artificial intelligence talent? And where are these jobs located?

In this analysis, we tackle these questions using Glassdoor’s global database of millions of online job postings, highlighting trends in AI hiring today in the UK, and drawing lessons about what these patterns in hiring means for the future of jobs and workplace automation throughout Europe.

What Are Employers Using AI For?

The phrase “artificial intelligence” has been around for decades. But until recently, AI was mostly theoretical. For most employers, AI has not been practical because of the cost of storing the huge amount of data needed, and because most off-the-shelf computers weren’t fast enough to perform AI tasks.

However, in recent years much faster computer processors and cheap cloud data storage have opened the doors to more practical uses of AI at work. Today, there are many examples of companies using AI tools for jobs that would otherwise be done by a person:

  • Customer service chatbots on bank websites;
  • Algorithms that automatically tag photos with labels and faces;
  • Tools that automatically choose which audiences are targeted for online advertising;
  • AI meeting schedulers that automatically arrange meetings via email;
  • Recommendation engines that make automated fashion suggestions for shoppers;
  • And more.  

Today, when most companies talk about AI they usually mean something like the following: Using software to perform a job automatically that was previously done by a person, using a system that gets “smarter” with more data over time.

In practice, most AI today uses a single technique known as “deep learning.” It may sound complex, but the underlying idea is simple: Imagine we’d like an algorithm that automatically recognises whether or not there’s a human face in a photo. To do that, we’d start with a folder of pictures with faces that were previously tagged by people, and then we’d “train” a statistical model using those data. The model then learns what’s a face from those previous decisions made by people. Then it can be used in the future to automatically label new faces in new photos without human help — automating a job previously done by a person.

This is the way most AI is being used in companies today. In general, AI doesn’t typically automate an entire job. Instead, it automates the most routine tasks of someone’s job, leaving behind more complicated tasks that are better suited to human judgment. Just as automatic nail guns do not eliminate the job of a carpenter — they simply allow one carpenter to sink many more nails per day, and focus their attention on design, creativity, and other higher-level tasks — most AI teams up with workers rather than eliminating jobs entirely.

Understanding that dynamic — that history shows that workplace automation usually ends up creating many more jobs than it eliminates because workers mostly team up with AI rather than being totally replaced by it — can help us understand which jobs are likely to be impacted by AI, and which jobs actually stand to benefit from it.

How We Counted AI Jobs in the United Kingdom

There is no agreed upon way to define what counts as an AI job. On one extreme, we could use a very broad definition and include any job opening at any company using AI today. However, that’s probably too broad, as it would count many non-AI jobs such as an administrative assistant working at an AI computer chip-maker.

On the other extreme, we could use a narrow definition of AI jobs such as only tech roles that directly build and use AI, such as software engineers and data scientists. However, that’s probably too narrow, as today there are many consulting, sales and other jobs today directly working to spread AI technology throughout the economy beyond software developers and data scientists.

For this study, we take a middle-ground approach: We count any role on Glassdoor that contains one of the following phrases in the job title listed by employers: “artificial intelligence,” “AI,” or “deep learning.” These are jobs that are closely enough related to building or using artificial intelligence that employers have included AI in the job title when trying to attract talent. Although this definition may miss out on some jobs that don’t specifically list AI in the job title, it assures that every job we count is clearly and directly related to building and using AI technology today.

How Many AI Jobs in the United Kingdom?

Overall, the number of AI-related jobs being hired for today in the UK is small. In total, we found 120 unique AI and deep learning jobs open in the United Kingdom as of 2 October, 2018. That’s about 0.013 percent of the roughly 900,000 total jobs vacant in the UK today.(1) This finding is consistent with our previous analysis of AI jobs in the United States in 2017, which found 512 AI jobs — about 4.3 times more AI jobs, consistent with a U.S. labour force that’s about 4.8 times the size of the United Kingdom’s.

Let’s take a closer look at AI jobs in the UK today, and the employers and industries who are hiring them.

Most Common AI Job Titles

The table below shows the 20 most common occupations among the open AI jobs we found in the UK on Glassdoor. (2) Not surprisingly, the most common AI job open today is software engineer, making up 24 percent of UK AI online job openings. They’re followed by data scientist (14 percent), research scientist (8 percent), and software developer (4 percent). These roles are the front-line workers building and AI products and technology in UK companies today.

Other common AI roles hiring in the UK today are less technical. They include strategy consultant (4 percent of openings) who are helping companies adapt their business strategies to the growing AI landscape, product managers (3 percent of openings) who help manage AI product teams that transform AI into useful products and services, and HR recruiters helping companies fill in-demand AI and deep learning roles. While not directly building AI tools, these non-tech roles are a critical part of the expansion of AI and workplace automation in today’s economy, as they connect the dots from AI software to real-world business problems.

Top AI Jobs Open in the United Kingdom

Occupation (Job Category) Open AI Jobs on Glassdoor in the UK Percentage Estimated Median Base Pay (Per Year)
AI Software Engineer 29 24% £45,752
AI Data Scientist 17 14% £47,443
AI Research Scientist 10 8% £35,837
AI Software Developer 5 4% £36,469
AI Strategy Consultant 5 4% £44,629
AI Solutions Architect 4 3% £59,786
AI Software Engineering Manager 4 3% £61,368
AI Quantitative Researcher 4 3% £41,741
AI Data Engineer 4 3% £39,914
AI Research Engineer 3 3% £40,623
AI Product Manager 3 3% £56,818
HR Recruiter for AI 3 3% £38,075
AI Technical Writer 2 2% £33,751
AI Technical Consultant 2 2% £49,749
AI Scientific Advisor 2 2% £30,888
AI Game Programmer 2 2% £41,128
AI Business Analyst 2 2% £47,536
AI Technology Engineer 1 1% £38,075
AI Technology Consultant 1 1% £56,173
AI Technical Project Manager 1 1% £46,550
Total 120 100% £44,968

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research. Active unique UK job listings on Glassdoor with “artificial intelligence” or “deep learning” job titles as of 2 October, 2018. Job titles are normalized into broad occupational groups using Glassdoor’s proprietary algorithm that groups similar jobs.

Some Surprising Ways Companies Are Creating AI Jobs

Aside from the top 20 most common open UK AI jobs above, we also found many surprising, albeit less common, AI roles that highlight the diversity of ways employers are investing in AI for the future. Here are a few examples:

  • Creative writers developing the personality for an AI personal assistant bot.
  • Finance managers for a tech AI group.
  • Clinical fellowships for doctors working with AI in a hospital setting.
  • AI sales representatives connecting customers with AI products.
  • AI consulting “thought leaders” serving as spokespersons for AI strategy consulting companies.

This diverse list of AI-related jobs shows that growing artificial intelligence is giving rise to unexpected new roles in non-tech sectors throughout the United Kingdom. Just as AI is making some older jobs obsolete by automating tasks previously done by a person, AI is also opening up new business channels and creating new jobs along the way.

UK Employers Hiring AI Talent

Looking at which companies and industries are investing in AI talent can provide insight into which parts of the UK economy are likely to be impacted by automation in the future. In the table below, we show the top 20 UK employers hiring for AI and deep learning talent today.

The employer with the most open AI roles on Glassdoor today is Babylon Health, with 11 open AI jobs or 9 percent of the total. As a tech-focused health care company, they are investing heavily in AI technology to personalize health care, improve diagnoses, and apply machine learning and AI to patient care. They are followed by broadcasting giant BBC (4 percent of open AI jobs), who is hiring for software engineers in their voice and AI group to build new ways for listeners to interact with news programming on the web.

Other top employers of AI talent in the UK today include healthcare data science and analytics company IQVIA (3 percent of open AI jobs), computer hardware and software employer Imagination Technologies (3 percent of open jobs), visual deep learning and AI company Tractable (3 percent of open jobs), software giant Microsoft (3 percent of open jobs), and e-commerce powerhouse Amazon (3 percent of open jobs).

A key lesson from this analysis is that many healthcare jobs appear likely to face significant disruption due to growing AI technology in coming years. Two of the top five employers investing in AI talent in the UK today are in healthcare. Employers are using AI tools for a wide range of routine tasks in healthcare, including scanning radiology images for cancer, using data to identify the most at-risk patients, and improving day-to-day clinical decisions by harnessing patient data to recommend procedures in real time.

Top 20 UK Employers Hiring AI Talent

Employer Open AI Jobs on Glassdoor in the UK Percentage Estimated Median Base Pay (Per Year)
Babylon Health 11 9% £39,914
BBC 5 4% £37,204
IQVIA 4 3% £47,562
Imagination Technologies 4 3% £45,752
Tractable 3 3% £42,215
Microsoft 3 3% £48,618
Amazon 3 3% £53,811
University of Cambridge 2 2% £28,757
Splash Damage 2 2% £62,462
NVIDIA 2 2% £61,840
Ieso Digital Health 2 2% £35,420
IBM 2 2% £44,245
Facebook 2 2% £42,521
Deloitte UK 2 2% £55,701
Capgemini 2 2% £54,659
BJSS 2 2% £61,603
BenevolentAI 2 2% £39,634
Yoti 1 1% £39,563
Xceptor 1 1% £44,665
Virgin Media 1 1% £53,159
Total 120 100% £44,968

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research. Active unique UK job listings on Glassdoor with “artificial intelligence” or “deep learning” job titles as of 2 October, 2018.

In addition to the top 20 employers listed above, many other interesting employers appeared in our sample of companies hiring AI jobs, including the following:

A common misperception is that only large tech employers are hiring AI talent today. What the above list of diverse employers reveals is that healthcare, media, finance, consulting, and other industries are investing in artificial intelligence talent today as well. These patterns of hiring from Glassdoor job postings data offer useful clues about which UK industries are most likely to be impacted most by AI-related job automation in coming decades.

What UK Areas Are Hiring AI Talent?

While the impact of AI technology will be felt by workers everywhere, hiring for these roles is clustered in just a few UK areas. The table below shows the top 15 U.K. areas with the most open AI jobs in on our sample.

Overall, we see a “golden triangle” for AI jobs in the UK: The majority of open roles are located in the area between London, Cambridge and Reading, a geographic triangle that also includes Slough and Hemel Hempstead. Overall, nearly half of all open AI jobs are located in one area: London. Taken together, these “golden triangle” metros make up fully 75 percent of all AI hiring on Glassdoor in the UK.

Top 15 UK Areas Hiring AI Talent

City Area Open AI Jobs on Glassdoor in the UK Percentage Estimated Median Base Pay (Per Year)
London 59 49% £47,443
Cambridge 17 14% £40,141
Slough 6 5% £45,245
Reading 4 3% £54,434
Oxford 4 3% £38,122
Hemel Hempstead 4 3% £45,752
Guildford 4 3% £41,457
Manchester 3 3% £37,204
Glasgow 3 3% £36,532
Edinburgh 3 3% £32,997
Bristol 2 2% £49,420
Brighton 2 2% £43,002
Norwich 1 1% £37,018
Newcastle upon Tyne 1 1% £32,911
Leeds 1 1% £39,158
Total 120 100% £44,968

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research. Active unique UK job listings on Glassdoor with “artificial intelligence” or “deep learning” job titles as of 2 October, 2018.

What Do AI Jobs Pay in the UK?

It’s difficult to accurately estimate pay for AI jobs. Compensation for these roles is often complex, with a significant share of pay in stock options or restricted stock units that are hard to value and are often misreported on salary surveys — both official government surveys, and private surveys from job sites like Glassdoor.

In this analysis, we focus only on base pay for open AI jobs. We do so because base pay is the most accurately-reported portion of pay for most jobs. And although it doesn’t capture bonuses or stock-related compensation, it’s a useful benchmark that allows an apples-to-apples comparison of pay levels for different AI jobs today. For each of the open AI jobs in our sample, we used a machine learning method similar to Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth tool to estimate median base pay for the open UK jobs in our sample. (3)

Overall, the median base pay for the United Kingdom AI jobs in our sample was £44,968 per year — about 1.6 times higher than the U.K. median salary of £28,450 per year according to the ONS.(4) By comparison, our 2017 analysis of AI jobs in the United States found an average base pay of $111,118 per year or the equivalent of £85,475 per year at today’s dollar to pound exchange rate of roughly 1.3. This may reflect differences in the breakdown of stock compensation vs. base pay in the two countries, or broader differences in demand for AI talent in the two labour markets.

Beneath the overall average, pay for AI jobs in the UK varies widely in our sample. In the figure below, we show the distribution of median base pay in our sample. The horizontal axis shows estimated base pay for the job, and the vertical axis shows the number of AI jobs in each salary range. Each green bar or “bin” in the figure has a width of £4,000 per year, ranging from zero to £100,000 per year.  

Overall, pay for open AI jobs is roughly bell-shaped. It has a peak between £36,000 and £40,000 per year. The lowest-paying jobs in our sample had an estimated base pay of between £24,000 and £28,000 per year, while the highest paying AI roles earned an estimated £80,000 to £84,000 per year in base pay. Even though we’re not able to account for stock-related compensation and bonuses in these estimates, even in terms of base pay the highest-paying AI jobs in our sample already rank among the top-earning jobs in the United Kingdom today.

What are some examples of the high-paying AI job openings in the United Kingdom today? In the table below, we show the top 20 highest-paying AI-related jobs in our sample, along with the industry and metro location of the employer. To mask the identity of specific employers, we have anonymised the job titles for these roles. However, each one corresponds to an actual AI job open in the UK on Glassdoor as of 2 October, 2018.

The highest-paying AI job in our sample was a Product Director of AI role in London for a tech employer. This senior-level position offers an estimated base pay of £84,026 per year, not including stock compensation and bonuses. Other high-paying AI jobs include a Senior Vice President of Robotics and AI role (£81,842 per year), a Head of Artificial Intelligence role (£71,372 per year), a Senior AI Programmer role (£70,481 per year), and a Senior AI Data Engineer role (£69,123 per year).

In terms of locations, 19 of the top 20 highest-paying AI roles in our sample were located in the “golden triangle” metros of London, Cambridge and Reading. Among industries, 15 of the top 20 highest paying roles are in the tech industry (either internet & tech, computer software & hardware, or more traditional IT), while the remaining five were either in finance or the accounting & legal sectors. As with many other open roles today, the UK’s tech sector clearly pays premium salaries for AI talent.

Top 20 UK AI Job Titles with Highest Pay

Job Title Metro Estimated Median Base Pay (Per Year) Employer Industry
Product Director of AI London £84,026 Internet & Tech
SVP of Robotics and AI London £81,842 Information Technology
Head of Artificial Intelligence London £71,372 Information Technology
Senior AI Programmer London £70,481 Internet & Tech
Senior AI Data Engineer London £69,123 Banking & Financial Services
Senior AI Solutions Architect Bristol £66,195 Computer Software & Hardware
Senior Deep Learning Engineer London £65,669 Computer Software & Hardware
Sr. Data Scientist for Deep Learning London £63,715 Internet & Tech
AI Solutions Architect Slough £63,222 Computer Software & Hardware
Product Lead for AI & Machine Learning Cambridge £56,818 Computer Software & Hardware
AI Software Architect London £56,349 Internet & Tech
Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Engineer Reading £56,304 Information Technology
Technology Consultant for AI London £56,173 Computer Software & Hardware
Data Scientist for AI London £55,708 Accounting & Legal
Senior Consultant for AI and Risk Analytics Reading £55,228 Computer Software & Hardware
AI Software Engineer London £54,924 Banking & Financial Services
Software Engineer for AI Cognition London £54,924 Accounting & Legal
AI Full Stack Developer London £54,834 Internet & Tech
Senior Research Engineer for AI and Machine Learning London £54,033 Internet & Tech
Senior Applied Scientist for Deep Learning London £53,811 Banking & Financial Services

Note: Exact job titles have been modified to mask the identity of specific employers. Source: Glassdoor Economic Research. Active unique UK job listings on Glassdoor with “artificial intelligence” or “deep learning” job titles as of 2 October, 2018.

Conclusion

Predictions about the impact of artificial intelligence are making waves in the hiring world. In this analysis, we used Glassdoor’s global database of job openings to look at which UK companies and industries are investing in hiring AI talent today — which provides clues about where the biggest impact of AI will likely be in the economy in coming years.  

Overall, we found a small but active job market for AI talent in the United Kingdom, with 120 open AI and deep learning jobs on Glassdoor as of 2 October, 2018. While there are fewer AI jobs in the UK than in the U.S., the number of open roles is similar as a percentage of the labour force, which shows the UK economy is investing in AI jobs at a similar pace to the United States.

Overall, UK healthcare employers such as Babylon Health and IQVIA are among the top employers hiring AI talent, suggesting big changes in the future of work are in store for workers the healthcare sector in coming decades. Other sectors investing in AI talent today include tech, consulting, financial services even some more traditional employers such as the BBC, Rolls Royce and Virgin Media. This provides clues about where in the British economy to watch for growing offerings of AI products and services in coming years.

For the British economy overall, AI and deep learning show great promise for the future of workplace productivity. Although widespread adoption of AI in the workplace has a long way to go, our analysis shows AI jobs are a small but growing part of the workforce — with many unexpected AI-related jobs already being created today.

Although there are many fears today about workplace automation displacing jobs, research shows most workers end up teaming up with automation like AI — using it as a tool that takes over the most routine and low-value aspects of jobs — rather than being replaced by it. The rapid investment of AI in healthcare follows this pattern, with AI tools being used to make better clinical decisions and allowing doctors to serve more patients at a lower cost and with more accuracy. Based on our analysis of who’s hiring AI talent today, we expect to see many more uses of AI in finance, consulting and manufacturing along these lines in the coming years.

Methodology:

This analysis is based on a data sample of all active, unique UK job listings on Glassdoor as of 2 October, 2018. We counted as AI jobs any role on Glassdoor that contains one of the following phrases in the job title listed by employers: “artificial intelligence,” “AI,” or “deep learning.” To focus on which employers are actually hiring and using AI talent, we omitted all jobs listed by companies whose primary industry is third party staffing and outsourcing, as these companies do not actually employ AI workers themselves (but instead place them at other companies in real economic sectors). We then used a machine-learning technology similar to Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth tool to estimate the median base pay for each AI job in the UK that we found based on salaries on Glassdoor.

Notes

1.Source: OECD, “Registered Unemployed and Job Vacancies,” July 2018. Available at https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=LAB_REG_VAC

2.  The job titles listed here have been “normalized” into broader occupational groups using Glassdoor’s proprietary job title normalization algorithm that groups similar jobs.

3.Median base pay for jobs was estimated using an “elastic net” regression model, which predicts pay based on a variety of job factors including employer, metro location, job seniority and more. Based on the information available in job listings, we were able to estimate median base pay for 102 of the 120 open AI jobs in our UK sample, or 85 percent. For the remaining jobs, we were not able to confidently estimate base pay, and these jobs are excluded from our pay analysis.

4. Source: UK Office of National Statistics, “Employee Earnings in the UK: 2018,” Statistical Bulletin. Based on an assumed 50-week working year and a median pay of £569 per week. Available at https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/bulletins/annualsurveyofhoursandearnings/2018