The challenge of retaining your brightest AI and Data talent

AI technology is becoming an integral part of making better business decisions – the leading tech companies are already using AI technology, but it’s spreading quickly across all industries and even government branches.

That’s why it’s not surprising that there’s a shortage of AI and data science experts who can help companies overcome obstacles and use AI to its fullest potential.

Today’s AI and data talent must have wide-ranging expertise and be able to handle advanced data processing and machine learning problems, finding the best approach in situations that haven’t been faced before.

Since it’s so hard to find new talent that’s qualified for the job, the only way for companies to ensure that their AI programs continue to move forward is to focus on retaining their current top talent. But that’s easier said than done.

Shortage of AI and Data Talent
As mentioned before, since artificial intelligence is such a complicated field that’s continually evolving, recruiting new talent that can step in and contribute is harder than ever before.

New applications for AI technology are being discovered every day, which keeps creating a shortage of qualified workers that understand AI and data science and also have specialised knowledge that allows them to work on the specific AI application.

And even though data science and AI-focused programs are being added to schools across the country, the new talent that comes out does not satisfy the need in the market, and thus the shortage continues. According to a study, there are only around 22,000 PhD-educated researchers in the entire world who are qualified to work in AI research and applications. Only 3,074 of them are currently looking for work.

That means that companies will always face a tough task in trying to recruit new talent and must instead focus all their efforts in keeping their current AI and data scientists happy, or else risk losing them to the competition who’ll do anything to lure them away.

But how can you maximise your chances of retaining your best AI and data employees?

Well, luckily, there are steps you can take. Even in a difficult situation where all of the top companies covet these employees, it is possible to create an environment which significantly increases the chances of your top talent not wanting to leave.

How to Retain AI and Data Talent?
In order to achieve success in retaining your best talent, you need to shift your perspective and look at the motivation to stay that you currently provide your employees.

While behind each employee is a person who has his own individual goals and needs, there are common areas that are important to most people on your team, and you need to discover and address them to have a chance to compete against other companies.

But the process isn’t easy.

You will need to dig deep to find areas that are currently lacking in your company – a lot of the things that you may learn will be unsettling, and many companies choose to ignore those problems because that would require changes at a fundamental level.

However, only by embracing change and listening to the concerns and suggestions of your employees can you develop an environment that’s pleasant to work in, which will result in not only your current employees wanting to stay, but talent from other companies becoming interested as well.

But to learn this information in the first place, you need to implement a system for communicating and listening to your employees, which has to begin from the first day that a person starts working for you.

To make your task easier, here are a few of the most important elements that often play a vital role in whether a company can retain its brightest talent.

Clear Expectations = Better Results
One of the most common reasons why employees become disgruntled is not having clear guidelines and goals that he should strive for.

AI and data scientists are some of the brightest and most educated people on earth, so if your company isn’t able to engage them and provide obstacles to overcome, they are likely to become drawn to other companies that can offer that.

When hiring new employees for your AI or data science projects, you need to set clear expectations about what they’ll be working on, as well as establish goals of what will be expected.

You also need to make sure that the goals are attainable and give them all the necessary tools to make that happen.

Competitive Salary and Bonus
A great way to ensure that people will want to work for your company is providing a competitive salary – while it’s rather obvious, salary does play a vital role in employee motivation, so you need to ensure that your pay is comparable or better than that of your competitors.

And in the AI and data science world, the salaries are rising quickly.

In case you can’t match someone in terms of salary, you can try and use incentives to compensate – offering various performance-based bonuses or providing additional perks can be a great way to sway an employee to stay if he is provided a similar offer from a salary standpoint.

Teamwork is Essential
Finally, a happy and cohesive workplace environment is essential for your success in employee retention because it ensures that employees remain motivated and can achieve the goals that they work towards.

You need to take steps that encourage employee communication and collaboration and implement practices that promote teamwork for solving pressing problems.

When teams work collaboratively, it makes the job easier for everyone, as tasks get assigned more efficiently, and people can focus on their area instead of having to worry about the big picture.

If an employee feels like your company lacks focus and clear direction in its projects, he’s likely to start considering a switch to another company, so you need to get in front of the problem and create an environment that keeps him happy and motivated.

If you are interested in a career in Data Science or AI, please contact one of our team.

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