NLP Engineer Salaries Around the World

and How to Earn More

What Is an NLP Engineer?

Before we dive into the financial aspects of becoming a Natural Language Processing (NLP) engineer, it is important to understand what this role entails. The ability for computers to understand and interpret human language is central to many technological fields. NLP engineers are responsible for bridging the gap between human communication and computer understanding.

To accomplish this, NLP engineers develop algorithms and models that enable machines to process human language. This includes everything from understanding the context of a sentence, identifying the sentiment, translating between various languages, and even generating human-like text based on user instructions. The applications of this technology are wide-ranging, from search engines and machine translation to AI chatbots and coding assistants.

The role of an NLP engineer is quite complex, requiring a deep understanding of both computer science and linguistics. They need to be well-versed in programming languages (like Python or Java), machine learning techniques, and be able to understand and manipulate large datasets. Furthermore, they also need a solid understanding of the human languages they work with, including syntax, semantics, and the theory of grammar.

This is part of a series of articles about machine learning engineering

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NLP Engineer Roles and Responsibilities

As an NLP engineer, your primary responsibility is to develop and implement algorithms that can understand, interpret, and generate human language. This involves creating machine learning models to process large amounts of text data and extract meaningful insights from them. Common algorithms in NLP include bayesian networks, support vector machines (SVM), and the newer Transformer architecture.

In addition to this, NLP engineers are also responsible for maintaining and improving these models over time. This could involve troubleshooting issues, updating the models to accommodate new data, or working to improve their overall performance. It's not just enough to create an effective model—it needs to be scalable, efficient, and robust.

Moreover, NLP engineers often work closely with other teams within an organization, such as data scientists, software engineers, and product managers. This requires excellent communication skills, as they need to effectively convey complex technical concepts to non-technical team members. They also need to understand the broader business context in which their models will be deployed, and how their work can contribute to the organization's overall goals.

Related content: Read our guide to machine learning workflow

Average Salaries of NLP Engineers Around the World

The numbers below are based on salary surveys conducted in the respective countries in late 2023. They are only averages and may not be representative of all NLP engineers in each country.

United States

The average salary for an NLP engineer in the United States is approximately $117,110 per year, ranging from $97,000 to $123,000 for base salary. Bonuses can add up to $15,000, and profit sharing may contribute an additional $2,000. The total pay range is between $85,000 and $139,000 annually​​​​.


In Canada, the average salary for an NLP engineer is CAD 158,626 per year. This figure includes an average bonus of CAD 6,853. The hourly rate for this role averages around CAD 76.26. For entry-level positions, the salary starts at around CAD 111,509, and it can go up to CAD 196,875 for senior level positions​​.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the average salary for an NLP engineer is approximately £75,900 for males and £72,300 for females, indicating a gender pay gap of around 5%. The average annual salary increase for NLP Engineers in the UK is about 12% every 16 months​​.


In Germany, the average salary for a Machine Learning Engineer with NLP skills is around €55,028 per year. The salary range for this position is from €37,000 to €69,000, with potential bonuses of up to €7,000​​.


In Australia, the average salary for NLP engineers is around AUD 95,800 for males and AUD 90,900 for females, also showing a 5% gender pay gap. NLP engineers in Australia can expect an average annual salary increase of approximately 11% every 17 months​​​​.


In Japan, the average salary for a machine learning engineer with NLP skills is approximately ¥12,628,864 per year, with an average bonus of ¥545,567​​.

Factors Influencing NLP Engineer Salaries

Experience Level

Like many other professions, NLP engineering rewards practical experience. As an NLP engineer gains more hands-on experience working on projects and solving real-world problems, their value to employers increases.

As you gain experience and prove your ability to deliver results, your earning potential can increase significantly. For instance, an NLP engineer with five or more years of experience might earn considerably more than an engineer just starting out in the field.

Education and Certifications

While experience is a key factor, education and certifications also play a substantial role in determining an NLP engineer's salary. In the field of NLP, a strong educational background in computer science, linguistics, artificial intelligence, or a related field is often an important prerequisite.

Additionally, having a postgraduate degree or a PhD can significantly enhance an engineer's earning potential. This is because higher education equips engineers with advanced knowledge and skills, making them more valuable to employers. Furthermore, employers often consider postgraduate degrees as an indicator of an engineer's commitment to the field and their ability to perform complex tasks.

Certifications also play a crucial role in shaping an NLP engineer's salary. Certifications demonstrate an engineer's competency in specific areas of NLP and can, therefore, increase their marketability. Some of the popular certifications for NLP engineers include the Microsoft Certified: Azure AI Engineer Associate and the IBM Watson Application Developer Certification.

Geographical Location

The geographical location of an NLP engineer can have a significant impact on their salary. This is largely due to the cost of living and the demand for NLP engineers in different locations.

Typically, NLP engineers working in cities with a high cost of living, such as San Francisco or New York, earn more than those working in areas with a lower cost of living. This is because employers often adjust salaries to match the local cost of living.

Similarly, NLP engineers working in tech hubs, where the demand for AI skills is high, often earn more than those working in areas where the demand for such skills is lower. For instance, NLP engineers working in Silicon Valley, where many tech companies are based, might earn more than those working in less tech-centric locations.

Specialization and Niche Skills

Lastly, an NLP engineer's specialization and niche skills can significantly impact their salary. For instance, an NLP engineer specializing in machine translation might earn differently from an engineer specializing in sentiment analysis. This is because each specialization requires a unique set of skills and knowledge, and the demand for these specializations can vary.

Similarly, NLP engineers possessing niche skills, such as proficiency in a rare programming language or familiarity with an important neural network architecture, can command higher salaries. This is because these niche skills can make an engineer more valuable to certain employers, leading to higher salaries.

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