NZ employers trailing in search for AI skills

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Generative AIs like ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion may be making waves and threatening to disrupt many industries, but Kiwi employers do not appear to be keeping up.

New Zealand was tracking behind comparable countries in the number of job ads looking for people with skills in AI, according to data from Lightcast, a company that monitors job markets in a number of countries.

It found 0.45% of domestic job postings required skills in artificial intelligence – compared to 2.05% of postings in the United States, 1.45% in Canada, and 0.89% in Australia.

In a recent Lightcast blog post, New Zealand was found to have the lowest percentage of jobs that listed an AI skill requirement of the country’s monitored.

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Lightcast defined an AI job posting as any job that required at least one skill in AI, such as machine learning or natural language processing.

Trade Me data also suggested demand for AI skills remained low, although it was increasing.

Trade Me Jobs sales director Matt Tolich said in the past year, the online marketplace had seen just 76 job listings that said they were looking for people with experience with AI tools like ChatGPT and Dall-E.

The small number was nevertheless an increase from the 45 jobs the year prior.

“This is unsurprising given ChatGPT, the market leader in this technology, was only launched by a San Francisco-based team in November,” Tolich said.

“As with any new technology, we suspect that some businesses around the motu are monitoring these new programmes to see how it might help improve their business, and there will be an increasing demand for skills around AI over the next few years.”

Lightcast data also revealed an increase in AI related job postings across almost every sector, with the biggest increases being in professional, scientific, and technical services, where 4.1% of jobs now asked for some AI skill, and finance and insurance, at 3.3%.

“AI postings also increased in industries not traditionally affiliated with tech, such as real estate,” the company said.

The industries where jobs including skills in AI were appearing less included agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting.

The percentage of job ads mentioning some form of AI skill by country


The percentage of job ads mentioning some form of AI skill by country

Lightcast spokesman Scott Bingham said the company found very few instances of employers requesting generative AI-related skills (such as ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Dall-E) in Australia and New Zealand.

“In the US, job postings referencing generative AI have increased in 2023, already surpassing the total number of job postings referencing such software in 2022. However, the share of generative AI postings remains small – just 0.01% of all postings in 2023 have referenced generative AI.”

He said job postings requesting AI skills were heavily concentrated in technical roles and tended to be looking for individuals who could understand the technical components of such software.