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Learning how to use AI could boost your pay by 25%, study finds

By Anna Cooban, CNN

London (CNN) — Jobs that require artificial intelligence skills offer significantly higher wages than those that don’t, according to new research published Tuesday.

Consultancy PwC studied advertisements, posted last year, for a range of jobs, including app programmers, lawyers and accountants. It found that wages for AI-related roles were on average 25% higher in the United States than for comparable jobs in the same field that did not require those skills.

The premium was 14% in the United Kingdom, and 11% in Canada.

The differences were particularly pronounced in certain professions: lawyers in the United States with AI skills could earn a 49% wage premium and financial analysts a 33% premium compared with workers in equivalent traditional jobs.

PwC’s report is based on an analysis of more than 500 million job ads across 15 countries in North America, Europe and Asia.

“Countries and sectors that have a high demand for AI skills tend to see higher wage premiums, especially if there is a scarcity of skilled professionals,” Mehdi Sahneh, senior economist at PwC UK, said in a statement.

Between 2012 and 2023, the number of jobs requiring AI skills grew 3.5 times faster than the total of all jobs across the countries studied, according to the report.

Barret Kupelian, chief economist at PwC UK, also noted that “the menu of skills required by employers in occupations exposed to AI is changing about 25% faster than those which aren’t.”

“As pick-up of AI continues, this trend is likely to intensify, creating new roles whilst also reducing demand for some skills that can be done more efficiently using AI,” he added.

A boon for productivity

The report also found that labor productivity in industries most exposed to AI — that is, those where AI can be more readily used to perform certain tasks, such as financial services — is growing 4.8 times faster than in other sectors.

A company becomes more productive if it produces the same amount of goods or services, or more, with fewer staff or with its employees working fewer hours. Higher labor productivity is the key driver of higher living standards.

“Productivity growth is crucial to boosting real wage growth and sustaining economic growth, particularly when the number of hours worked in an economy may be declining as populations are aging,” Randall Kroszner, a member of the Bank of England’s financial policy committee, said in speech Tuesday.

Improving productivity is particularly important for certain countries, such as the United Kingdom where it has grown much more slowly since the global financial crisis than in the years before.

“AI could be the missing piece of the UK’s productivity puzzle, bringing a boost to the economy, wages, and living standards,” said Sahneh at PwC.

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