OpenAI offering $10M pay packages to lure Google AI researchers

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OpenAI is facing against Google in the race towards more advanced artificial intelligence initiatives and projects. It has made aggressive moves to beat its rival to the punch at every turn.

According to a report by The Information on Friday, OpenAI recruiters are trying to poach senior Google AI researchers, promising them substantial compensation packages. It is reported that they told potential workers that their annual pay, primarily offered in stock, could range from $5 million to $10 million.

The Information reported that OpenAI has hired key Google AI researchers in the past, sometimes using a personal plea to the candidates from the CEO, Sam Altman. The lures dangled alluringly come as OpenAI, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, plans to sell existing employees’ shares at a valuation of $80 to $90 billion.

A talent war

The Information’s report from Friday was keen to point out that if workers join OpenAI before the sales are completed, they will likely get stock right before the valuation triples. That means workers could be given OpenAI shares and see them rise quickly past the 300% mark in value and receive large stock grants later on.

The last time OpenAI sold employee stock was in April, as reported by TechCrunch, at a valuation of $27 to $29 billion. The company makes most of its money through a $20/month subscription to ChatGPT Plus and by selling rights to use its AI models to businesses and developers.

Microsoft, its biggest backer, paid billions to own half of the company, providing the company with massive cloud computing power to train and test its models. Meanwhile, Google has its own cloud computing business to help AI research projects, with much of the foundational research for the current AI explosion coming from its efforts.

AI continues to explode

Companies are willing to spend a lot on AI salaries, which goes against trends in the broader tech industry, where layoffs by companies cutting costs and gunning for profitability have been the norm. Another San Francisco startup, Anthropic, recently announced billions in new investments from Google and Amazon.

The two backers each laid off thousands of workers within the last year. Even Netflix is getting in on the boom for purposes specific to its business, and in June, it listed a $900k AI post while the writer’s strike was ongoing.

While OpenAI might seem like a leap ahead, The Information did note that some employees have gone the other way, transitioning to Google. The talent war continues.

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