Career paths and prospects for artificial intelligence

By Robert Half on 5 June 2024

According to the Opening a New Era of Intelligence: China's AI Big Model Industry Development Report 2024 (1) jointly released by the Institute of Finance and Economics of and Zhiding Tech, driven by policy, technology, and the market, AI is rapidly responding to a wide range of demands in various fields, including cost reduction and efficiency improvement, production automation, risk reduction, diagnostic accuracy improvement, and efficiency improvements for government services. 

The rapidly developing AI big model technology in China will become the engine of industrial technological innovation as well as bring new application scenarios, and will also have a far-reaching impact on the future job market. To this end, it is crucial for job seekers and recruiters to understand the career paths and prospects for AI. In this article, we will elaborate on the impact of AI on the future job market, as well as the skills, opinions and career opportunities to succeed in the age of AI. 

Key Skills for the AI Era 

Influenced by the development of AI and digitalization, companies' talent assessment criteria require that digital talent should have both technical (hard skills) and interpersonal (soft skills) competencies. Hard skills mean that people in the workplace should be proficient in using digital technologies and tools at work, such as machine learning, digital programming, programming and digital capture, and big data analytics, thus using AI technologies to produce more valuable output. 

Soft skills such as critical thinking, analytical thinking, innovation, lifelong learning skills, communication, time management/prioritization, teamwork, and empathy help professionals communicate and collaborate well with colleagues as well as think more humanely. In an external environment filled with uncertainty, having excellent emotional management skills, adaptability and resilience is often accompanied by better performance. 

Career Paths and Prospects for AI 

The widespread use of AI technology will create new jobs. The first and foremost positions directly related to AI are those of research and development (R&D), algorithms, data, and products. Among them, the R&D position is mainly responsible for the design, development and optimization of AI systems. Algorithm positions, on the other hand, focus on algorithm design and implementation, while data positions are responsible for data mining and processing. Related positions are AI engineer, machine learning engineer, deep learning engineer, data scientist, algorithm engineer, and natural language processing engineer. 

The application of AI in the fields of healthcare, finance and manufacturing is also growing fast. 

AI is rapidly driving the smart healthcare market, creating jobs related to diagnostic imaging, assisted diagnosis and treatment, healthcare management, automated data analytics, and smart family healthcare systems. The application of AI is reshaping the future of employment in the medical industry. China's smart healthcare market size is expected to reach RMB52,854.8 million by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 67.8% (2). 

AI technology will create three types of jobs in the financial industry i.e. technical, operational and business positions. These positions include data scientists, system architects, development engineers, algorithm and system testers. By 2027, China's financial sector could employ 9.93 million people, with 23% of those jobs being disrupted by AI (3). 

The traditional manufacturing industry is accelerating its transformation to intelligence and digitization, and some of the emerging industries are developing well, thus releasing more employment opportunities and demand for talent. 

Seizing the opportunity for change 

AI replacing manual labor is an inevitable trend, as AI technology can increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve quality. But that doesn't mean people will lose their jobs. On the contrary, the growth of AI will create new careers. With a full understanding of the importance of AI for the future work and a mastery of the necessary skills, AI will become an important tool and resource for companies and people in the workplace around the world to make a leap. Looking at the average monthly hiring salary for 2023 graduates by industry segmentation, AI came in first with RMB18,592 (4). As a result, the career paths and prospects for AI are very positive. 

To meet the challenges of the development of AI, how can you adapt yourself and continue to learn to be more competitive? 

  • You should regularly assess your professional competence to understand your strengths and weaknesses. You can set clear career goals and development plans, develop corresponding action plans, and continuously improve your professionalism and working methods. 
  • You are recommended to take appropriate AI training courses in the industry to enhance your expertise and skills. You can attend online or on-site training courses, seminars or courses, actively participate in exchange activities in the industry, and exchange knowledge and experience with peers. 
  • You should proactively seek to participate in projects that are challenging and contribute to personal empowerment. You will learn and grow continuously through these projects. You must identify and solve problems and improve your professional skills through practice. 
  • You need to actively collaborate with your peers to create connections. You can use social media platforms such as LinkedIn to showcase your expertise and experience and learn about the latest industry news and trends. 

With the gradual maturation of robotics and AI technologies in China, more industries will improve quality and efficiency through the application of AI, accelerating transformation and innovation. Accordingly, profound changes will occur in the labor market, job structure and skills demand. Companies and job seekers need to keep an eye out for the latest news on AI career paths and prospects and make appropriate adaptions and improvements accordingly.




(1) China AI big model industry development report 2024 

(2) Overview of China's AI medical assistant industry in 2023: Internet giants promote high-quality development of smart healthcare 

(3) Replacement or liberation: The impact of AI on the labor market in the financial industry 

(4) Employment trends and prospects of national college graduates 2023

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