The top 25 cities for recruiting skilled artificial intelligence talent

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The rapid rise of artificial intelligence adoption is disrupting many industries, most notably the banking and financial services sector.

The many individual technologies that are included under the umbrella title of artificial intelligence are promising great opportunities for business efficiencies, but at the same time, creating new challenges.

One of these new challenges is determining the best location to relocate or expand offices and service centers of banks, insurance companies, investment houses and other financial services companies that collectively are leading the national charge of incorporating AI technologies into their day-to-day operations.

Not surprisingly, with the growing need for the latest in AI skillsets and the academic resources for recruiting and retraining of displaced workers, relocation firms such as Princeton, NJ-based The Boyd Co. are targeting those North American cities that offer superior academic programs in artificial intelligence.

Top Ranked Cities for AI Recruiting

Indeed, the ability to provide an artificial intelligence workforce is emerging as a new site selection driver – and one that Boyd expects to soon extend well beyond the financial services sector. With that in mind, the firm has identified 25 cities showing superior fit for recruiting AI talent. Comparative office operating costs are also provided for each city in the chart below.

The top ranked city overall - Montreal - benefits from Canada’s open immigration policies facilitating global AI recruiting, its deep pool of workers in AI-rich financial services and a favorable exchange rate, according to Boyd. Montreal has already attracted some 2,000 jobs from New York City-based Morgan Stanley and Boston-based State Street, along with major AI players DeepMind, Facebook, Huawei and Google.

Montreal houses one of the world’s top labs for AI research: The MILA (Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms) headed by Yoshua Bengio, one of the founders of machine learning. Boyd noted that the Canadian government selected Montreal as headquarters for SCALE AI, Canada's AI supply chain think tank devoted to boosting industry performance by leveraging AI technologies.

A top ranked city in the West - Salt Lake City - houses the University of Utah's School of Computing. That university’s AI program has helped the city attract a major cluster of financial services jobs in recent years, including those of Discover Card, American Express, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Fidelity. Goldman Sachs’ Salt Lake City office has been a main landing board for the company’s jobs jettisoned from New York City.

Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained

As more organizations adopt AI technologies, there are concerns that many jobs will be lost and the role that labor plays in selecting cities for corporate relocation will be diminished. Boyd estimates that a million jobs in the financial services industry alone could disappear over the next decade.

Boyd client JP Morgan Chase is already programming thousands of databases to accommodate machine learning and Citi President Jamie Forese predicted that AI could result in the loss of some 10,000 banking jobs over the next five years, the firm noted.

Still, those projections fail to tell the whole story, Boyd stresses. What site-seeking clients are saying is that AI will definitely displace jobs in some areas but it will also create a significant number of new AI-dependent jobs elsewhere in their organizations.

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