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AI knowledge gets your foot in the door – new study

Published: 10 May 2024 at 10:30

An image of a brain in the style of a computer circuit board

UK firms more likely to offer interviews and higher wages to those who have studied AI

UK employers are significantly more likely to offer job interviews and higher salaries to graduates with experience of artificial intelligence, according to new research published in the journal Oxford Economic Papers.

Researchers from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) conducted an experiment by submitting CVs for job vacancies from British 21-year-old applicants who held a 2:1 degree. Some of the applicants possessed AI capital – they had studied an 'AI in business' module – and this was mentioned in their cover letter for the application.

A matched pair of male applicants, one with AI capital and the other without, submitted applications, resulting in a total of 1,360 applications from male applicants to 680 companies. A total of 1,316 similarly matched applications from female applicants were sent to 658 firms.

Male applicants with AI capital received an interview invitation in 54% of cases, whereas male applicants without AI capital were invited to interview in 28% of cases.

Female applicants with AI capital received an interview invitation in 50% of cases, whereas female applicants without AI capital received one in 32% of cases.

In large firms, applicants with AI capital were 36 percentage points more likely to be invited to an interview than in small-medium sized firms.

Male applicants with AI qualifications were shortlisted for jobs offering wages that were, on average, 12% higher than those for male applicants without AI capital, while female applicants with AI qualifications were offered interviews for jobs offering wages that were, on average, 13% higher than without AI capital.

Lead author Professor Nick Drydakis, Professor of Economics at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said:

“In the UK, AI is causing dramatic shifts in the workforce, and firms need to respond to these demands by upgrading their workforces through enhancing their AI skill levels.

“Our study clearly indicates that employers value AI knowledge and skills among job applicants. Those applicants with AI capital were significantly more likely to be invited to interview and were also more likely to have access to better paid jobs.

“Job applicants with AI capital might possess the knowledge, skills and capabilities related to data analysis, data-driven decision-making, creativity, innovation, and effective communication, among other factors. These skills can enhance business operations, making them more efficient and potentially contributing to increased productivity within a firm.

“Larger firms particularly valued AI capital, possibly because they tend to undergo more AI-based structural technological transformations and have greater capacity for innovation.”