Chaos Unleashed At OpenAI Leads To AI Talent Poaching War


In the wake of Sam Altman’s departure as CEO of OpenAI, chaos has ensued within the company, with the majority of its employees considering leaving. This internal turmoil presents a unique opportunity for rival companies to poach top AI talent.

Key Takeaway:

The chaos at OpenAI following Sam Altman’s departure has created a prime opportunity for rival companies to poach highly sought-after AI talent. With stability being a key attraction for OpenAI employees, companies like Anthropic, Mozilla, and Patronus AI may benefit from the potential talent exodus. As the demand for AI skills continues to grow, competitors are actively recruiting OpenAI employees to strengthen their AI talent force. However, the decision for employees to join Microsoft or other companies comes with considerations such as bureaucracy and uncertainties surrounding the direction of OpenAI. This disruption may also pave the way for the birth of the next generation of AI startups.

The Attraction of Stability

Amidst the chaos at OpenAI and Altman’s move to Microsoft, companies like Anthropic, Mozilla, or Patronus AI may become attractive options for OpenAI employees seeking stability. These companies could benefit from the influx of highly sought-after AI experts, potentially causing OpenAI employees to scatter across the industry or follow Altman to Microsoft.

“That talent is the crown jewel of the organization,” says Tammy Madsen, a professor of management at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. “There is a wide gap between what companies need in terms of AI talent and what is currently available.”

Competitors on the Hunt

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff wasted no time in extending an offer to OpenAI researchers who have tendered their resignations, promising to match their compensation and inviting them to join the Salesforce Einstein Trusted AI research team. Other companies, such as Cohere, are actively seeking machine learning staff.

However, attracting OpenAI employees may not be an easy task. Altman himself played a significant role in curating the company’s top talent, as reported in various media outlets and on social media.

AI Skills in Critical Demand

The demand for AI skills continues to grow, with McKinsey reporting a 15% increase in job postings related to tech trends from 2021 to 2022, despite an overall decline in global job postings. Applied AI and next-generation software development together accounted for nearly 1 million job postings within that period.

“This particular skill base is in critical demand,” says Madsen. “Many of OpenAI’s major competitors see this as an excellent opportunity to bolster their AI talent force.”

The Pros and Cons of Joining Microsoft

Although some OpenAI employees may choose to join Altman at Microsoft, where he and co-founder Greg Brockman will lead a new advanced AI research team, there are considerations to weigh. Joining a large publicly traded corporation like Microsoft, while well-funded, may come with increased bureaucracy and regulations.

“They’ve lost their champions,” Madsen explains, referring to Altman and Brockman. “Employees may have doubts about the board’s best interests and the interim CEO’s plans for significant changes. This uncertainty leaves employees in a difficult position as they decide whether to move to other companies or wait it out at OpenAI.”

The impact of recent events on the pace of AI development at OpenAI remains unknown. However, amidst the disruption, there may be an opportunity for the emergence of the next generation of AI startups.

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