OpenAI engineers earning $800,000 a year turn rare skillset into leverage | Tech News

OpenAI engineers earning $800,000 a year turn rare skillset into leverage

At the vanguard of artificial intelligence, the startup’s engineers are seen as virtually irreplaceable

By:BLOOMBERG
| Updated on: Nov 23 2023, 12:26 IST
New Microsoft Teams features rolled out - know how you can collaborate effectively
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1/5 Microsoft believes that the introduction of AI in the workplace brings several benefits in terms of saving time and enhancing creativity, productivity, content and team collaboration. Keeping this in mind, Microsoft had announced new AI features for Microsoft Teams which aim to “revolutionize the way users work and communicate” (Microsoft )
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2/5 Copilot in meetings and Whiteboard: Starting 2024, Copilot will have the ability to create participants' spoken ideas into visuals. It will be able to organize and create visuals of discussions in the Teams Whiteboard which can also be shared with all the meeting participants. It will also have the ability to suggest ideas and help teams collaborate on the Whiteboard. (Microsoft )
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3/5 Copilot in Collaborative Notes: Copilot during team meetings can take live notes so the participants can focus on the discussions without getting distracted by creating notes manually. Copilot will be able to create real-time collaborative notes for the participants which can also be shared.  (Microsoft )
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4/5 Intelligent recap integration with Copilot: The Intelligent recap is now integrated with Colipot which enables users to get a summarised form of the whole meeting discussions. With Colipot, users will be able to ask specific questions about the meeting to clear their doubts or the points they have missed. Additionally, it will provide a summary of key points, action items, and decisions.  (Microsoft)
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5/5 Custom channel announcement background: Channels are a space where teams can share workplace knowledge. Now with custom backgrounds, users will be able to create personalized announcement backgrounds with images and descriptions. If you do not have the time to create announcements from scratch, then worry not because AI will do it for you and provide you with a creative backdrop. (Microsoft)
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OpenAI engineers earn 8-12.5% more than non-AI counterparts. (REUTERS)

 OpenAI reinstated Chief Executive Officer Sam Altman after hundreds of workers threatened to quit over the ChatGPT creator's ouster, highlighting just how much leverage the tech industry's most valued workers hold right now.

Artificial intelligence engineers earn anywhere from 8% to 12.5% more than their non-AI counterparts, according to an analysis by compensation data platform Levels.fyi published in May. 

The most common salary range for an engineering job listed on OpenAI's website is $200,000 to $370,000, though a handful of more specialized roles advertise ranges from $300,000 to $450,000, said Roger Lee, co-founder of compensation benchmarking firm Comprehensive.io. Salary ranges don't include bonuses or stock awards, which can bring an annual salary of $300,000 closer to $800,000 in total compensation, according to Levels.fyi.

In an industry where talent is the scarcest resource, the kind of exodus threated at OpenAI would have been catastrophic. “For emerging technologies like AI, you only have a very small, small group of people who are experienced. They are the product, they are the company,” said Julia Pollak, chief economist at job site ZipRecruiter. 

That put OpenAI employees in an unusually powerful position to exert direct pressure on the company's board.

“The supply constraint is a very real, binding one, especially in the short- to medium-term,” she said. “You can't easily train these people, you can't easily recruit them from elsewhere. Retaining the ones you've got is the most important strategy.” 

As for recruiting from universities, there's a big difference between understanding AI models on a theoretical level and having the skills and experience to actually apply them. OpenAI's highly specialized software systems also makes its current developers even more valuable.

“It takes a long time to learn an actual company's code and tech stack. An AI engineer inside the company is worth three AI engineers from outside the company, given that dynamic,” Pollak said.

OpenAI staff already had job offers waiting. Before Altman was reinstated, Microsoft Corp. said they would be welcome to join its new AI research lab. Microsoft has a roughly 49% stake in OpenAI.

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First Published Date: 23 Nov, 12:25 IST
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