AI Engineer Compensation Trends Q1 2024

A report on how demand has shifted compensation in 2024

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With OpenAI's announcement of GPT-4o yesterday, the world continues to see how AI can reshape industries. As things rapidly advance, so too does the compensation landscape for the underlying technical teams. We'll dive into the latest data from Q1 this year to understand how the demand for AI talent is impacting compensation trends in 2024. Note that all figures in this report are in USD. The following locations have the highest total median pay for AI engineers (including stocks and bonuses).

Top paying US metros for AI engineers
Top paying countries for AI engineers

Now, let's visualize this data with charts showing ranges of AI engineer compensation across different regions. We took all the data points for a location and used the 25th - 75th percentiles to create the displayed range. The markers in the midst of each range indicate the 50th percentile (median), providing further insight into the distribution of compensation within each location.

AI compensation by country

AI compensation by US metro

Based on our latest salary data, there's a noticeable difference in how much money Software Engineers who specialize in Artificial Intelligence (AI) make compared to those who don't.

In 2024, Entry Level AI Engineers earn 8.57% more than their non-AI counterparts. The difference gets bigger at the Second Level, where AI Engineers now earn around 11.19% more than non-AI engineers.

Even though it's a bit less, Senior Level AI Engineers still make 10.79% more than non-AI ones, down from 12.5% in 2023. And at the Staff Level, AI Engineers still lead, making on average 11.08% more in 2024, compared to 9.92% in 2023.

As the market for AI talent matures, companies may become more discerning in their hiring practices and compensation strategies. With a better understanding of the skills and qualifications required for AI roles, companies may adjust their compensation offers to align more closely with market standards, resulting in a narrower pay gap between AI and non-AI positions.

Compensation difference between AI and Non-AI roles and how it changed over time

Standard Level Difference in 2024 Difference in 2023
Entry Level Engineer 8.57% 8.13%
Engineer 11.19% 10.11%
Senior Engineer 10.79% 12.5%
Staff Engineer 11.08% 9.92%

These charts offer a visual representation of how AI skills influence compensation across various companies and career stages. For instance, consider LinkedIn's Entry Level: AI Engineers earn $239,000, whereas non-AI Engineers make $221,650 on average.

As engineers move up in their careers, the pay difference gets even bigger. At the Senior Level, big companies like Cruise and Amazon pay AI Engineers a lot more—$450,000 and $427,500 respectively—compared to non-AI engineers. And at the Staff Level, Cruise pays AI Engineers a huge $680,500, while non-AI Engineers only get $495,000. It's clear that companies value AI skills and are willing to pay a premium for them, no matter what job level you're at.

Total median compensation AI vs non-AI by company and by level

Now, let's take a look into compensation differences among companies. This visualization focuses on the top 20 companies and highlights the varying compensation levels for AI Engineers across these organizations.

AI compensation by company in the US

Looking at the salary trends over time, we seen ups and downs for AI Engineers in the US. Salaries started at $231,000 in August 2022 and went up to $268,000 by March 2023. They dipped a bit in May 2023 to $244,500 but climbed back up to $300,600 by March 2024.

Median AI compensation over time in the US

As AI shakes up much of the industry, it also raises the bar for engineering compensation in 2024. It's a testament to where businesses are choosing to invest and where they aim to compete for top talent. It'll be interesting to observe how these compensation trends continue throughout the rest of 2024.

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