January is renowned for being the month when many people start their hunt for a new job – or ask for a pay rise.
If you have no clue what a machine learning scientist or a coded welder is, now might be the ideal time to do a spot of research.
These roles saw the steepest average pay rises in 2023, Hays data shown exclusively to This is Money reveals.
Sectors coming out on top in the pay rise stakes included engineering and manufacturing, finance, sustainability and technology.
New beginnings: Machine learning scientists enjoyed strong pay rise hikes last year
According to an analysis of 12,000 salaries in the UK, machine learning scientists saw the biggest upturn in pay last year, with average salaries rising 11.3 per cent to £77,023 in 2023.
In simple terms, a machine learning scientist designs and implements algorithms which drive artificial intelligence systems and software.
AI, which is the simulation of human processes by machines, is in growth mode.
Degrees and courses in areas like computer science, data science or mathematics can be useful for anyone considering a career as a machine learning scientist.
As with many jobs, your earning potential as a machine learning scientist will depend on your experience and education level, as well as the location of the role you are looking at.
Cara Hopper, business director at Hays, said: ‘At a minimum, employers tend to expect a bachelor’s degree when entering the field – with senior professionals often having a masters and PhD in their specialist field.’
Pay rise: Top 20 jobs which saw the biggest upturn in salary in 2023, according to Hays
It is not just machine learning scientists faring well in the salary stakes, though. According to the findings, coded welders enjoyed the second biggest annual rise in average salaries in 2023.
Some of the duties of a coded welder include joining, designing, fabricating and repairing metal parts and structures.
They saw their average annual pay jump by 9.2 per cent to around £41,200 last year.
According to The Welding Academy, coded welders complete practical tests in a particular welding process using a certain method. This is known as the Welding Approval Test.
Coded welders need to carry a certificate with them which shows their specialist skills and has to be signed every six months by an appropriately qualified person.
For those searching for a six-figure salary, a role as an information security architect could be a good bet. This line of work deals with cyber security for businesses. In this field, employees saw their average annual pay packet rise 9.1 per cent to £105,091.
According to the data, corporate finance directors saw their average annual pay increase by 7.1 per cent to £111,250 year-on-year.
Pay for work as a corporate finance director can vary hugely depending on the size and nature of the business in question, with some in large listed companies paid millions of pounds each year.
Valve technicians, supply chain managers and credit controllers all saw their average annual pay increase by more than 8 per cent year-on-year in 2023, Hays said.
Simon Winfield, chief executive of Hays UK and Ireland, said: ‘If you take a look at our list of the top 20 salary increases from 2023, it’s a good indication of where we are seeing the most demand for staff at the moment.
‘Engineering and manufacturing roles are arguably the most skill-short across the UK, with substantial salary increases and counteroffers becoming commonplace across the sector.’
He added: ‘With sustainability high on the corporate agenda, salaries for specialist roles that incorporate elements of strategy and delivery have seen significant increases this year.
‘Elsewhere in technology, despite there being less technology roles included in our list than previous years, roles in areas such as cyber, data, cloud and AI can expect to secure above average rises.
‘Whilst the top salary jumps and overall pay increase are more muted than in 2022, employers are still doing what they can to increase pay to attract and retain talent in a challenging market.’
Figures from the Office for National Statistics this week revealed that growth in regular earnings, excluding bonuses, was 6.6 per cent in September to November 2023, while annual growth in employees’ average total earnings including bonuses was 6.5 per cent by the end of the same timeframe.
If you do secure a pay rise, be aware that you may be pushed into a higher tax band. There are a number of ways you can protect your income from stealth taxes, irrespective of how much you are earning.
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