Companies are racing to hire AI talent. There are few areas where that is more apparent than in banking, where hiring for AI-related jobs has accelerated in recent years, according to a new report covering 60 major North American and European banks and payment companies by Evident, a startup that measures finance companies’ AI capabilities.

Banks are relatively advanced when it comes to AI adoption, explains Evident CEO Alexandra Mousavizadeh. Besides tech, she says, there’s “no other sector…that is so highly penetrated by AI across the board.” I spoke with Mousavizadeh for insights on how banks are adopting AI. Given that banks are at the cutting-edge in this space, understanding how they're approaching AI talent can help other organizations form their own strategies. Here are some key takeaways from that conversation and Evident’s report:

Banks are shelling out for high-quality AI talent.

Roughly 40% of the staff in AI development, data engineering, and AI governance and ethics roles at the finance companies analyzed in the report have started their jobs in the past year and a half. These workers are highly technically skilled, with at least 25% of employees in banks’ AI development departments holding PhDs. To compete, banks are offering high salaries. The average starting salary for AI-related banking jobs exceeds $160,000 in at least five US cities (excluding stock options and bonuses).

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