Businesses Looking for AI Expertise Lure Academics
Some AI professors are splitting their time between academia and the corporate world
The WSJ Pro article, "Businesses Looking for AI Expertise Lure Academics," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Fawad Bajwa on how various companies, not just tech, are seeking AI academic experts. The article is excerpted below.
As demand for artificial intelligence talent increases, companies across a range of industries are looking to recruit university professors who are experts in the technology.
Big tech companies were among the first to recruit these academics. Some of the leading minds in the field have joined Silicon Valley firms, including University of Toronto professor Geoffrey Hinton, who joined Alphabet Inc.’s Google’s AI research team, and Carnegie Mellon University professor Alex Smola, who is working with Amazon.com Inc.
But as businesses increasingly adopt AI, nontech firms are getting in on the action.
To lure top AI professors, businesses often allow them to work part time so they can keep a foot in their schools. They may be able to attract scholars who have a keen interest in a particular sector, such as finance or health, and, in some cases, may be able to offer salary packages that are competitive with those of tech firms.
“A giant health-care company may not be able to pay on par with a giant tech company. But they will appeal to the altruistic side of people,” said Fawad Bajwa, a consultant at executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates, which specializes in finding C-suite execs in specialties including artificial intelligence and robotics. “However, a giant bank may pay on par or higher to be able to attract that top talent because they can financially offset that extra cost with their new hire’s work. It can be measured directly by the returns, offering a straightforward business case.”
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