AI Researcher Salary: Eye-watering pay of top tech job revealed

A 2023 report has revealed the staggering salaries for highly sought-after AI researchers who can command over $750,000 per year at top artificial intelligence (AI) companies right after completing their studies.

The figures compiled by, Rora, a salary negotiation service, reveal the sky-high compensations offered to AI Researchers as demand for talent in this rapidly growing sector accelerates.

What was the salary for AI Researchers in 2023?

The report analyzes over 600 industry job offers secured by new Ph.D. graduates. It finds that OpenAI (owners of Chatgpt) and Anthropic, two of the biggest AI labs, provide the highest starting salaries, with new researchers earning up to $865,000 and $855,000 respectively. Other leaders include Inflection ($825,000), Tesla ($780,000), and Amazon ($719,000).

It’s worth noting the total compensation included in the research comprises base salary, bonus, and equity. Signing or other cash bonuses were not included in this table.

What’s striking is how much room there is to negotiate. Candidates could increase initial offers by as much as 77%, even at prestigious companies like Google and Microsoft Research. One researcher turned a $216,000 offer from Google into $526,000 after negotiation – a 243% increase.

Table of AI Researcher salaries listed by company.
Table of AI Researcher salaries listed by company.

The stakes are far higher than just first-year salary. The report stresses how early negotiation impacts long-term earnings thanks to compounding effects over decades of work. Just a 5% increase on a $100k starting salary equates to an extra 14 years of pay throughout a career.

Beyond compensation, negotiating strong relationships is key to a successful career.

Brian Liou, founder of Rora, writes: “Understanding how to influence others leads to better projects; more visibility; and ultimately promotions, career growth, and pay raises over time. When you’re ineffective at negotiating inside the company, you’re at risk of conflict with your manager; being stuck with projects with low visibility or low impact; failure to achieve raises or promotions; or even potentially losing your job. ”

Why AI jobs are in such high demand

To put it simply: demand far outstrips supply.

Currently, the voracious need for AI researchers far outstrips the limited pipeline of talent. In 2021, Taulbee Surveys found only 1,691 PhDs were awarded in computing research fields like machine learning. Yet in the US alone, over 30,000 open positions exist for computer and information research scientists. And that need grows by 21% every year – meaning 5,000 new jobs appear every year.

Despite economic turbulence, the AI industry continues to accelerate. Emerging industry research labs flush with venture capital funding, like Anthropic, Inflection, and Altos Labs are on major hiring sprees, and while hiring has slowed at Google and Meta labs, their AI teams keep getting larger.

Another sector in high demand is cybersecurity. We previously explored the highest-salary cybersecurity roles in the US.

Picture: AI-generated image from DALL-E

Sam Shedden

Sam Shedden is an experienced journalist and editor with over a decade of experience in online news. A seasoned technology writer and content strategist, he has contributed to many UK regional and national publications.

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