AI tech and LLMs government

Amidst an intensifying global race to secure top-tier AI talent, significant transformations are reshaping the dynamics of the industry, according to a MacroPolo study.

The United States maintains its dominance as the leading destination for AI researchers, with researchers of American and Chinese origin comprising a substantial 75% of the top talent pool, a notable increase from 58% in 2019.

China has significantly expanded its domestic AI talent pool to meet the demands of its rapidly growing AI industry.

With nearly half of the world’s top AI researchers now hailing from China, more Chinese talent are choosing to work within the country’s thriving tech ecosystem, reinforcing its position as a global AI hub.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to host 60% of the world’s top AI institutions, solidifying its status as a powerhouse in the field.

Emerging players such as the United Kingdom, South Korea and parts of continental Europe are also making strides as attractive destinations for top AI researchers.

However, countries like India and Canada have experienced relative declines in retaining AI talent, indicating a shifting landscape beyond the traditional frontrunners.

Similarly, India, a major exporter of top-tier AI researchers, is witnessing a shift in talent retention.

While historically most Indian AI researchers pursued opportunities abroad, recent trends show a growing number opting to stay and contribute to the domestic AI landscape, indicating a maturing tech ecosystem.

Overall, the report indicated a noticeable decline in the mobility of top-tier AI researchers, with fewer foreign nationals opting to work in different countries.

This trend suggests a shift towards talent staying rooted in their home countries, potentially driven by factors such as increasing opportunities and investment in domestic AI industries.

As countries vie for leadership in AI, strategies to attract, retain and leverage top talent will be crucial in shaping the future of the industry.

Ricardo Madan, senior vice president of global technology services for TEKsystems, said countries generally seem flat-footed on this topic, at least directly.

“Politicians talk a lot about AI, governance, policy and ‘creation of a skilled AI workforce,’ but these words rarely ever turn into a deliberate action,” he said.

As for what countries “can do”, Madan noted the AI bootcamps haven’t even taken root at scale yet, so any talk of talent incubation is still premature.

“For commercial companies, however, it’s all about the money and incremental training in my opinion,” he said.

He points out the mega tech companies seem to be relying on the usual suspects of cash, equity and stock to lure top AI talent.

“Based on our own AI recruiting, coupled with open-AI-poaching-wars we’ve seen, there’s definitely some one-upmanship going on,” he said.

For example, no sooner does Microsoft entice former DeepMind founder Mustafa Suleyman to join them as their CEO of AI, than Google Cloud announces Logan Kilpatrick of OpenAI developer community fame to their Gemini product team.

“Although there’s proportionality to these coups, it feels like there’s a tally going on of who possesses the brightest AI people currently,” Madan said.

When these traditional mechanisms don’t work, AI talent and mindshare is retained by virtue of capital investments. For example, Microsoft investing directly in OpenAI, and Inflection or Amazon investing in Anthropic and Hugging Face.

Madan explains not only do the big players guarantee access to talent via the money invested in these scenarios, they deeply engage said talent by opening up access to their FMs and LLMs inside of the larger hyperscalers’ platforms, Model Gardens and registries.

“All that access is increasingly monetized,” he said.

From Madan’s perspective, many of the enduring truths of talent attraction remain intact, regardless of era.

These include the presence of strong domain leaders, presence of innovative and collaborative developer communities, conducive local/state/federal subsidies and cost-of-living reconciliation with what he calls the global economy’s “currently absurd” rates-of-inflation.

“Any locale who effectively balances and rationalizes these factors can intentionally bring in more than their fair share of the already scarce global AI talent marketplace,” he said.