The AI Boom in Senior Leadership Jobs

It’s been just over a year since ChatGPT pushed AI into the mainstream, promising to upend the ways we work, learn, and create. And for executives with artificial intelligence expertise, that shift is translating into immense opportunity. 

A new analysis by ZoomInfo shows that AI-related job titles in senior leadership have doubled in just two years, illustrating how critical AI technology has become in organizational strategy, leadership, and decision-making.

And while generative AI technologies like ChatGPT have driven the most recent wave of interest and investment, we found that most of the overall job titles in AI still focus on broad-based disciplines such as engineering, illustrating that employers of all kinds are building the core infrastructure that can make AI products and services that drive sustained growth.

Senior AI Leadership Roles Expanding

ZoomInfo offers the most accurate and up-to-date business data in the world, with a platform that detects more than 1 million personnel changes per day. To better understand the trends in AI executive hiring, our team of data scientists collected and analyzed announcements from more than 300 companies detailing their appointments of senior leadership roles focused on AI. 

Senior leadership positions that focus on AI are an important proxy for overall AI strategy in a company. With larger compensation packages, broader responsibilities, and control of budgets and headcount, adding senior leaders with AI knowledge reflects a more significant level of investment than companies that are only hiring individual contributors or frontline managers.

Data from ZoomInfo’s Scoops, which supported this analysis, consists of a range of actionable insights and topics that can be leveraged to help go-to-market teams improve workflows and increase revenue. By filtering through our Scoops, our data insights team identified new roles and leadership hirings that included terms like artificial intelligence or AI, and machine learning or ML.

In 2021, there were only 60 tracked mentions of new AI-related leadership roles. In 2022, this number nearly doubled. In 2023, there were 144 AI leadership hires — a 2.4x increase from 2021.  

The employers installing top-tier leadership with an explicit AI focus span a wide variety of industries and sectors, from Amazon to Boeing to the Defense Department. 

Which Types of AI Jobs Are Most Popular? 

We also analyzed ZoomInfo’s vast network of professional contact data to reveal the most popular types of AI jobs and how the recent explosion of generative AI tools is being reflected in the hiring landscape. 

Most AI job titles observed in 2023 included terminology related to engineering, research, and similar technical disciplines. For example, 43% of all AI-related titles are engineering-related, and both “AI Engineer” and “AI Software Engineer” are among the three most popular titles in the field. 

Here are the top 10 most frequently listed AI job titles seen in our data:

  1. AI Engineer
  2. AI Researcher
  3. AI Software Engineer
  4. AI Intern
  5. AI Developer
  6. AI Research Scientist
  7. AI Research Engineer
  8. AI Consultant
  9. Artificial Intelligence Developer
  10. Product Manager, AI

With the recent rise in “generative” terminology, titles that included the term “generative AI” were also examined. While representing less than 1% of the newly seen AI-related titles of 2023, generative AI positions showed a significant spike in the back half of 2023, and growth shows no sign of slowing. 

While still marginal compared to the universe of AI-related job titles, new positions with generative AI titles have increased nearly 50 times compared to the previous two years combined. 

Accurate Data: the Foundation of AI for Business 

As exciting as it is to see the immense impact that GenAI has had in such a short time, without access to comprehensive and accurate data, these tools — and those hired to employ them — have no runway. 

Your data infrastructure can make or break any investment in this technology, and it’s a struggle business leaders are quickly realizing. Mismanaged databases, a CRM riddled with holes, or outdated information feeding your algorithms can result in costly, irreparable damage that’s extremely tricky to not only catch, but fix. 

A high-quality data partner will quell these fears, so make sure this is as high on your priority list as AI tools are.