It's True – AI Really Does Boost Financial Sector's Productivity

Amanda Cheesley Deputy Editor 22 May 2024

It's True – AI Really Does Boost Financial Sector's Productivity

A new PwC study analysing AI's impact on jobs, skills, wages, and productivity suggests that AI significantly boosts productivity – a finding sure to resonate with wealth managers looking at AI to help manage rising costs and client demands.

Sectors more exposed to artificial intelligence (AI), notably financial services, are experiencing almost five times higher growth in labour productivity than sectors less exposed to AI, according to a 2024 Global AI Jobs Barometer by PwC, published today.

The report, which analysed over half a billion job ads from 15 countries to examine AI's impact, suggests that AI could allow many nations to break out of persistent low productivity growth, generating economic development, higher wages, and enhanced living standards.

The report finds that for every job posting requiring AI specialist skills, such as machine learning, in 2012, there are now seven job postings. PwC research also finds that growth in jobs demanding AI skills has outpaced all jobs since 2016, with postings for jobs requiring AI skills growing 3.5 times faster than for all jobs.

Across the five major labour markets for which wage data is available (US, UK, Canada, Australia and Singapore), jobs that require AI specialist skills carry a significant wage premium – up to 25 per cent on average in the US – underlining the value of these skills to companies. Across industries – in the US for example – this can range from 18 per cent for accountants, 33 per cent for financial analysts, 43 per cent for sales and marketing managers, to 49 per cent for lawyers. While the wage premium differs by market, overwhelmingly this is higher in all markets analysed, the firm continued.

Skills sought by employers are also changing much faster in occupations more exposed to AI, with old skills disappearing – and new skills appearing – in job ads at a 25 per cent higher rate than in occupations less exposed to AI. To stay relevant in these occupations, workers will need to demonstrate or acquire new skills, the firm added.

“AI is transforming the labour market globally and presents good news for a global economy hindered by deep economic challenges and concerns around long-term business viability. For many economies experiencing labour shortages and low productivity growth, the findings highlight optimism around AI with the technology representing an opportunity for economic development, job-creation, and the creation of new industries entirely,” Carol Stubbings, global markets and tax and legal services (TLS) leader, PwC UK, said.

“However, the findings show that workers will need to build new skills and organisations will need to invest in their AI strategies and people if they are to turbocharge their development and ensure they are fit for the AI age,” she added.

PwC’s report used half a billion job ads from 15 countries to examine AI’s impact on jobs, skills, wages, and productivity. Analysing data from the past decade and across a number of sectors, the report provides insight on AI job penetration, salary premiums, vacancy rates and more. The report was presented at the VivaTech Summit in Paris yesterday by PwC.

This news service has carried research and commentary on how different parts of the wealth sector will benefit, such as in crunching data for KYC checks and to flag potential issues, for example. See more commentary here. 

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