Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Big Tech companies are engaged in a fierce battle for AI talent.CEOs and founders have taken to making personal appeals to attract and retain top talent.The competition for workers has led to some aggressive attempts to poach workers.

The war for AI talent is causing some Big Tech execs to take drastic measures.

Investor enthusiasm and the rapid development of AI products have left the major players fighting over a small pool of advanced researchers and engineers. Candidates with the necessary expertise can net pay packages of up to $1 million, The Verge reported in January.

Even company CEOs and founders have been getting involved in the battle to acquire and retain top researchers.

Meta‘s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sergey Brin have both issued personal appeals to current and potential employees.

Google cofounder Sergey Brin.

Zuckerberg has reportedly been cold-emailing Google’s AI staff, while Brin recently called an employee who planned to defect to OpenAI.

At Microsoft, Satya Nadella has scooped up former Inflection AI CEO and DeepMind cofounder Mustafa Suleyman.

Microsoft also went on a hiring spree of Inflection’s staff, something that came amid concerns from the company’s board about instability at OpenAI and internal doubts about consumer-AI vision and strategy, Business Insider previously reported.

Some CEOs have been getting personally involved in AI recruitment for a while, and retaining top AI talent has proved just as difficult as recruiting new blood.

In Apple’s case, Google CEO Sundar Pichai personally wooed a trio of its top researchers away in 2022, according to a report by The Information. Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly tried unsuccessfully to persuade them to stay.

Srinivasan Venkatachary, Steven Baker, and Anand Shukla now work across Google and left Apple within a month of each other, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

Startups struggling

Apple’s also been aggressively recruiting from Google’s and Meta’s AI ranks, The Information reported, citing an unnamed internal source. The iPhone maker has recently boosted its spending on conversational AI development.

Pressure to match the salaries and resources of Big Tech companies has left startups struggling to recruit in the increasingly competitive market.

Aravind Srinivas, the founder and CEO of Perplexity, said he recently struggled to poach a Meta employee because of a lack of GPUs. Zuckerberg has previously said Meta is sitting on a stockpile of the hot commodity.

In a later interview with The Verge, Srinivas also identified Elon Musk’s AI company, xAI, as major competition in the recruiting space.

Alex Libre, cofounder of Einstellen Talent, told BI’s Aaron Mok that startups are starting to be “extremely generous” with their offers to early-stage AI hires to compete with the tech giants.

Stability AI, creators of AI-image generator Stable Diffusion, has also been described by one person as “totally hollowed out” in terms of research talent, Bloomberg reported.

Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque announced his departure last Friday to “pursue decentralized AI.”

Read the original article on Business Insider


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