Banks racing to hire the right AI talent for effective implementation
Credit: / Shutterstock

Banks are leading the charge in AI adoption according to research from Evident Insights, with US banks at the top of the table but European institutions are not far behind.

In its latest dispatch report examining cross-sector AI developments, Evident focused on talent development. According to the research, the overall AI talent pool among the world’s 50 biggest banks increased by 9% over the last six months.

Implementation roles are the main destination of AI hires at these banks. Staffing in this area rose 14% between November 2023-April 2024, and 68% of AI hires in the US were centred on implementation, compared to 47% in Europe. After this, the areas where the most hiring occurred were data engineering at 7%, AI development at 5.4%, model risk at 1.8%.

Alexandra Mousavizadeh, Evident Co-Founder and CEO, said: “AI is starting to move from the lab to the front office, with the leading banks focusing on finding the right talent to implement AI and make it work for the bottom line. 

“AI is viewed as a critical strategic priority, which is why the banks’ AI talent volumes continue to grow at pace, seemingly immune from the ongoing reduction in force initiatives seen across the wider sector.

 “The key trend we’ve seen over the past six months is the growth in banking roles designed to make AI a day-to-day, organisation-wide reality, led by some of the leading US banks.”

Across global finance, banking stakeholders’ intent on leveraging AI for day-to-day functions, as well as in-depth processes and procedures, has become more and more visible. According to Evident, JPMorgan Chase is leading the way in this respect. .

The US banking giant has 5.7x more AI staff than the average bank on Evident’s AI index and employs 11.5% of the entire existing AI talent pool. In the context of recent remarks by JP Morgan Chase CEO, Jamie Dimon, this is not too surprising.

In a letter to investors last month, Dimon asserted that AI projects “pay for themselves”, adding that: “Over time, we anticipate that our use of AI has the potential to augment virtually every job, as well as impact our workforce composition.”

In another win for AI in American banking, Virginia-based Capital One had the highest rate of AI talent density with 12% of its staff working in this area. However, it is not just US firms making moves in this area.

Evident also noted that Deutsche Bank, Santander, ING and Lloyds are stepping up the pace of AI development. Deutsche Bank grew its AI talent capability by 26.7% and Santander has increased its AI talent density by nearly 10x the average Eivdent’s index.

Mousavizadeh added: “The top 10 banks for AI talent currently account for 51% of the overall banking industry talent pool – a huge advantage when it comes to AI adoption. 

“This concentration of AI talent has real consequences. If the banks that lag behind cannot close the gap, the race to implement AI will become an uphill struggle.”

Banking leaders have revealed to Payment Expert their interest in using AI tech. Lee McNabb, NatWest’s Head of Group Payments Strategy and Research, highlighted the potential to link AI with Open Banking capabilities.