- The IT workforce wants more money and flexibility, and they're upskilling to get there, according to O'Reilly's 2021 Data/AI Salary Survey, released Wednesday. Three in five (61%) of the 3,136 professionals surveyed obtained certifications or partook in other training in the past year for a salary increase or promotion.
- Data and AI professionals who spent more than 100 hours training and developing new skills earned, on average, an $11,000 salary increase, compared to a $7,100 increase for workers dedicating one hour to 19 hours in training and development.
- “Our survey reveals just how dedicated data and AI professionals are to advancing their careers through skill development and training," Mike Loukides, report author and vice president of content at O'Reilly, said in a statement. "Getting L&D right is crucial for companies to retain and attract top talent in this hot job market."
Data and AI professionals want to learn — 91% of the O'Reilly survey say they're interested in learning new skills — but many lean on support from their workplace to make it happen.
Workers in a Pluralsight survey said being too busy, budget constraints and a distracting environment impede efforts to upskill. Employees are looking for companies that will help them prioritize the development of new skills.
Plus, companies will need to upskill the workforce to stay competitive. CompTIA predicts that the next wave of skills gaps will stem from emerging infrastructure and hardware, advances in AI and data, digital transformation, people skills for an internet context and prioritization of employee well-being.
"The dual need to create more resiliency and future-proofing of skills, with the critical need to expand and diversify the pipeline of digital-ready workers, is a resounding mandate for change," Nancy Hammervik, CEO of CompTIA Tech Career Academy, said in an April statement.
Companies that fail to upskill, or find new talent with in-demand skills, will run into trouble deploying emerging technologies. The talent shortage is the most significant adoption barrier to two-thirds (64%) of emerging technologies, according to Gartner research.
More training can also enable greater salary and benefits for professionals looking to switch jobs, even though many in the data and AI industry already make six figures.
The O'Reilly survey revealed the average salary for data and AI professionals, $146,000. The majority of salaries ranged between $100,000 and $150,000, with 18% reporting that their salaries have remained the same over the last three years.
But significant salary gaps remain. Women's salaries, regardless of education or job title, equaled 84% of the average salary for men, according to the O'Reilly survey.