Regulators need AI expertise. they can't afford it


ChatGPT catches up with regulators Surprised when it started a new AI race. As companies race to develop and release more powerful models, lawmakers and regulators around the world have tried to catch up and rein in development.

As governments launch new AI programs, regulators around the world are urgently trying to hire AI experts. But some job advertisements are raising eyebrows and even laughs among AI researchers and engineers for offering salaries that seem pitiful amid the current AI boom.

The European AI Office, which will be central to the implementation of the EU's AI Act, listed the vacancies earlier this month and wants applicants to start work in the autumn. These include vacancies at the senior level for technology experts in AI with a master's degree in computer science or engineering and at least one year's experience, suggesting an annual salary from €47,320 ($51,730).

In La Manche, the UK government's Department of Science, Innovation and Technology is also looking for AI experts. One open position is to head the International AI Safety Report, which will help lead on a landmark global report arising from the UK's Global AI Safety Summit last year. “Expertise in frontier AI security and/or demonstrable experience of rapidly upskilling in a complex new policy area” is required, the advertisement says. The proposed salary is £64,660 ($82,730) per year.

Although taxes are not paid on the EU list, salaries are still very low compared to the attractive sums offered within the industry., which compiles verified tech industry compensation data, reports that the average total compensation for workers at OpenAI is $560,000, including stock grants, as is common in the tech industry. The lowest compensation for a recruiter verified by the ChatGPT creator is $190,000.

The $212,500 average compensation at OpenAI's Amazon-backed rival Anthropic—maker of cloud chatbots—is still more than what regulators are offering. According to, the bottom 25th percentile for jobs in machine learning and AI is $172,500. Stock grants included in tech industry compensation packages can turn into huge windfall profits if a company's value increases. OpenAI is currently valued at $80 billion after a first-reported share tender in February 2024 new York Times,

“Brain drain is happening in every government around the world,” says Nolan Church, co-founder and CEO of Faircomp, a company that tracks salary data to help workers negotiate better wages. “One reason for this is that private companies not only have better working conditions, but they will also pay significantly higher salaries.”

The Church is concerned that competition between private companies will widen the gap between the private and public sectors. “I personally believe that the government should attract the best and the brightest,” he says, “but how do you convince the best and the brightest to take huge pay cuts?”

outside the ballpark

It's nothing new for government jobs to pay significantly less than industry, but the disconnect is potentially more significant and urgent in the current AI boom. In the race to adopt the technology, tech companies and corporations from other industries are competing fiercely for AI-savvy talent. The rapid pace of development in AI means regulators need to move fast.

Jack Clark, co-founder of Anthropic, posted on Twitter comparing the EU AI Office's salary offer to a tech industry internship. “I appreciate that governments are working within their limits, but you're going to have to pay a decent wage if you want to implement some ambitious regulation of the AI ​​sector,” he wrote. “You don't have to be competitive with the industry, but you definitely need to be in the ballpark.”