There was further evidence of the high demand for artificial intelligence and data science professionals this week, as job site Indeed.com released its list of the 30 fastest growing jobs in technology. Three of the top 10 spots went to AI and data-related positions, with the job of machine learning engineer now coming in at a strong second place finish.

Meanwhile, more than 10 percent of new jobs created in the U.K. this year have been in technology fields, with expertise in artificial intelligence and data science two of the primary drivers—but filling those positions is proving tough.

Confirming the demand for technology jobs in general, tech jobs are the third-largest category in “hard to fill” roles on Indeed’s platform, behind sales and management. (Indeed defines “hard to fill” roles as those that are vacant for over 60 days.) Indeed based its top tech jobs list on hundreds of thousands of job searches and vacancy listings conducted on its website over the past 12 months.

“The software economy is driving significant new employment opportunities in London, and this is showing up in the tech talent shortage, especially where developer and more senior roles are concerned,” said Raj Mukherjee, a senior vice president at Indeed.

The Indeed top tech jobs list merely lists the job role sought and the percent of increase in posting for each position. The top ten jobs on the list:

  1. Full stack developer, 232 percent increase
  2. Machine learning engineer, 191 percent increase
  3. Reliability engineer, 161 percent increase
  4. Data scientist, 135 percent increase
  5. Development ops manager, 135 percent increase
  6. Platform engineer, 116 percent increase
  7. Data warehouse engineer, 96 percent increase
  8. Development ops engineer, 78 percent increase
  9. Cloud engineer, 73 percent increase
  10. Principal software engineer, 68 percent increase

Leadership role

The demand for artificial intelligence and data-related jobs in the U.K. is both good and bad news for that market. The U.K. has tried to maintain a leadership role globally in those fields, but recruiting talent is getting especially difficult.

Following the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union last year, concerns have been raised about the future of London as a home for technology companies and workers. But the city has shown resilience to doubt, with companies such as Snap Inc., Apple Inc., Slack Technologies Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google, as well as major local startups such as Deliveroo, all announcing plans to open new or expanded offices in London.

According to Indeed, demand for software engineers within fields such as machine learning and data science were two of the five fastest-growing categories within tech this year, with a 191 percent growth and 136 percent increase in both fields respectively since 2015.

“The salaries and prestige associated with the most in-demand specialisms—AI, data science and software developer—are turning them into the rock stars of the business world,” said Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, an industry body.

AI Surge

This is reflective of a wider industry trend that has seen the world’s biggest tech companies investing billions of dollars and hiring thousands of staff to develop AI products, such as Apple for its Siri digital assistant, Google for its Android platform, Microsoft Corp. for Cortana, and Amazon.com Inc. for its Echo home assistant.

In November, Facebook said it would increase its U.K. headcount by 50 percent, hiring 500 new staff. “Many of those new roles will be high-skilled engineering jobs,” Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for the EMEA region, said at the time.

Also in November, Google said it could house as many as 3,000 extra staff at its new London campus when it opens. CEO Sundar Pichai said "computer science has a great future with the talent, educational institutions and passion for innovation" in the U.K.

However, Indeed also said its data showed that despite high demand for developers, matching the job listings with available talent was tough for many employers. Of the 50 most difficult roles to fill on the site, 44 percent were for software and tech developers.

Shaw said demand is simply now outstripping supply. “We need to invest in home-grown talent through digital skills initiatives and keep the U.K. open to international high-skilled workers through accessible visa routes,” he said. “Neglecting the tech talent pipeline will undermine recent success and stop the growth of our tech firms in their tracks.”

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