Korea increasingly losing AI talent abroad: report

By Park Sae-jin Posted : April 17, 2024, 17:03 Updated : April 17, 2024, 17:17
This image was produced using the generative AI-based image creation service Karloai
This image was produced using the generative AI-based image creation service Karlo.ai

SEOUL, April 17 (AJU PRESS) - Korea has experienced a significant decline in the migration index for AI developers compiled by Stanford University as the country is increasingly losing talent, lured by higher pay and better opportunities abroad.

According to the AI Index 2024, published by the U.S. university's Human-Centered AI Institute on Monday (local time), in 2022, Korea had 10.26 AI patents per 100,000 people, ahead of Luxembourg (8.73), the United States (4.23) and Japan (2.53).

However, Korea showed a negative growth in the migration index of AI developers, reaching -0.3 in 2023. The country’s point was 0.3 in 2020 and began to decline in 2021.

"It's all because of the high wage levels offered by American big tech firms. Korean tech companies cannot match such offers," a Korean AI industry official told Aju Press on condition of anonymity.

In terms of private investment in AI, Korea ranked ninth with $1.39 billion. The U.S. topped the list with $67.2 billion and China trailed behind at $7.26 billion. In 2022, Korea ranked sixth with $3.1 billion but within a year, the country’s investment more than halved.

"The manpower leakage Korea is experiencing is inevitable due to the vast disparity in investment between the U.S. and Korea," the official said. "I do not see it as an exodus of developers from Korea to other countries. It is just natural for developers to pursue bigger wages and more opportunities."

The AI industry official stressed the need for tech companies to approach the manpower problem strategically. "It takes significant time and resources to develop AI talent. Offering competitive wages to retain employees while actively recruiting talented individuals is essential," the official said.
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