From November 2023 OpenAI has approximately 700 employees. This number has grown significantly over the past year, with a 118% increase in the number of employees.
OpenAI started as a small startup in 2015, but in just a few years it has grown tremendously into a powerhouse in AI research. Thanks to significant funding and an ambitious mission, OpenAI now employs over 700 people and continues to expand rapidly.
Origin with a small team
OpenAI was launched in 2015 with an admirable mission: to ensure that artificial intelligence benefits all humanity. The nonprofit was founded by technology pioneers Sam Altman and others. Despite its famous backers, OpenAI started very small.
See also: Why did Sam Altman leave OpenAI
The young company had only six employees in 2015. Nearly all focused on research to advance the safety and capabilities of AI. The first team members tried to lay a solid ethical and philosophical foundation.
Steady growth during the first years
After its founding, OpenAI gradually expanded its team to match the expanding research. In 2016, the number of employees grew to 25 as more software engineers and AI scientists joined the company.
In 2017, the team size had almost doubled to 45 people. The open source projects Spin up and Gym were also started to boost the training of AI agents. OpenAI’s groundbreaking work began to gain attention.
The following year saw modest growth to 52 employees. In 2019, the team passed the 100-person mark for the first time. While still small, important scalability work made it possible to train an AI model with billions of parameters.
Accelerated pace of recruitment
2020 marked a turning point for OpenAI’s growth. That year saw a rapid increase in recruitment. The workforce was approximately 120 by the end of the year.
Significantly higher funding from investors like Microsoft allowed for more aggressive expansion. OpenAI also released the GPT-3 language model, which demonstrates powerful new AI capabilities.
Growth has exploded in recent years
Buoyed by the success of GPT-3 and the influx of resources, OpenAI’s hiring exploded as of 2021:
- 2021: 220 employees, 83% increase compared to 2020
- 2022: 335 employees, 52% increase compared to 2021
- November 2023: more than 700 employees, a doubling in less than a year
This remarkable growth reflects the growing interest in AI safety and OpenAI’s industry-leading innovations. In just three years, the workforce grew by more than 500%.
Key roles driving OpenAI’s growth
To fuel its research and product ambitions, OpenAI has been aggressively hiring for positions such as:
- AI scientists: Developing breakthroughs in AI capabilities and applications.
- Software engineers: Building scalable systems for training and deployment.
- Product managers: Bringing AI innovations into useful products.
- User safety: Ensuring ethics, accountability and oversight.
- Technical writers: Explain complex AI concepts clearly.
OpenAI continues to seek out world-class talent in engineering, science, ethics and design. The diversity of expertise drives progress.
Ambitious recruitment goals for the future
OpenAI shows no signs of slowing down in hiring. Job vacancies show that they plan to double the number of employees again next year.
The long-term goals are even more ambitious. OpenAI aims to have ~5000 employees in 5 years. For context, Google currently has about 1,800 AI researchers. OpenAI plans to surpass even the tech giants.
Access to resources such as Azure cloud computing has removed infrastructure limitations. The company can now scale its workforce to meet its expanded vision of transforming AI.
In just a few years, OpenAI has exploded from a handful of idealistic thinkers to a research powerhouse more than 700 strong. Hiring continues aggressively as interest and funding pour into AI development.
But the mission remains constant: to ensure that this powerful technology benefits humanity. OpenAI’s meteoric rise shows no signs of stopping as it pursues that goal. The team is ready to shape the future of artificial intelligence.
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