AI-exposed sectors in the UK are experiencing significant productivity growth, with a nearly fivefold increase in the rate of productivity, according to PwC’s inaugural 2024 Global AI Jobs Barometer.

This report, which analysed half a billion job adverts from 15 countries, highlights the positive impact of AI on the global labour market.

In the UK, sectors like financial services, information technology, and professional services are seeing productivity gains marginally above the global average due to AI adoption. This increase in productivity could help address the UK’s long-standing productivity issues and boost economic growth, leading to improved living standards.

Rapid Growth in AI-Related Jobs

From 2012 to 2023, job postings in the UK requiring AI skills have grown 3.6 times faster than all other job postings. This growth rate is slightly above the global average. In 2012, only three in one thousand job posts in the UK required AI skills; by 2023, this figure had increased to nine in one thousand. In comparison, job postings requiring AI skills in Singapore have grown 13.5 times faster than all jobs.

While there is rapid growth in AI-related jobs, the report indicates that demand for other skills in AI-exposed sectors may decrease. Job openings in sectors less exposed to AI are growing 46% faster than in AI-exposed sectors. This trend underscores the need for workers to develop new skills to adapt to the evolving job market. According to PwC’s 2024 CEO Survey, 64% of UK CEOs believe AI will require most of their workforce to develop new skills within the next three years.

The report also highlights the economic opportunities for workers with AI skills. Jobs requiring AI expertise command a 14% average wage premium in the UK. Specific roles, such as lawyers with AI skills, see a 27% wage premium, while database designers and administrators experience a 58% premium. Among the five countries analysed, the US has the highest average wage premium at 25%, followed by the UK at 14%, Canada at 11%, Singapore at 7%, and Australia at 6%.

Insights from PwC Economists

Barret Kupelian, Chief Economist at PwC UK, emphasised AI’s potential to transform industries and boost productivity growth rates. He stated, “Our findings show that AI has the power to create new industries, transform the jobs market, and potentially push up productivity growth rates. As AI technology improves and diffuses across various sectors, its future potential could be transformative.”

Mehdi Sahneh, Senior Economist at PwC UK, highlighted the economic implications of AI skill demand. He said, “Countries and sectors with high demand for AI skills tend to see higher wage premiums, especially where there is a scarcity of skilled professionals. Increased use of AI could significantly boost productivity in the UK, potentially solving the country’s productivity challenges and enhancing the economy, wages, and living standards.”

The report stresses the importance of organisational adoption of AI and the need for upskilling. Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, noted a significant shift towards embracing new Gen AI tools and analytics. Almost 60% of marketers surveyed see AI investment as offering the most value and ROI in 2024.

Future Workforce and Skills Development

The research underscores the necessity for workers to adapt to the fast-evolving job market by building new skills. It also highlights the crucial role of businesses and government in shaping and delivering a comprehensive skills agenda to ensure responsible AI use and equitable benefits distribution.

The PwC 2024 Global AI Jobs Barometer provides a comprehensive overview of AI’s impact on productivity, job market trends, and economic opportunities. With AI skills commanding significant wage premiums and driving productivity growth, the UK stands to benefit from increased AI adoption. However, addressing the need for upskilling and fostering a balanced labour market will be essential for maximising the potential benefits of AI.