The rising demand for artificial intelligence (AI), the technology that mimics the human brain, is a no brainer. However, although the number of AI professionals in India has doubled, 2,500 related positions remain vacant indicating that the number of jobs getting created in AI has outpaced the talent available in the sector, according to a study by Great Learning, India’s leading ed-tech company.
The number of AI professionals in the country has almost doubled from 40,000 in 2018 to 72,000 by end of 2019 and more than 3,000 companies claim to work on AI projects of some or the other kind in 2019, a growth of 200 percent over 2018, the report stated.
Part of the job vacancy could be due to employers seeking for a combination of skills. “While tech-based skillsets such as data analytics, machine learning, and AI continued to be in great demand throughout 2019, recruiters also sought softer skillsets such as emotional intelligence, critical thinking and leadership skills. The growing convergence between technology and business processes continued to redefine job roles,” said Zairus Master, CEO, Shine.com.
According to the Great Learning report, Indian AI industry has also doubled in size with revenues of $415 million in 2019, compared to $230 million a year ago. Most of this growth has been powered by experienced professionals who have transitioned into a career in AI by upskilling themselves over the last few years. In fact, 65 percent of AI professionals in India have transitioned to their current role from other fields in the last 2 years. The average work experience of AI professionals in India is 7.2 years while 29 percent of AI professionals have more than 10 years of work experience, Livemint reports.
Interestingly, the number of freshers joining the field has also grown 60 percent from 3,700 last year to 6,000 by the end of 2019. “Large scale adoption of business intelligence, rising AI-based optimisation of enterprise processes, improved data management across Indian organizations, increasing use of chatbots & NLP (natural language processing) voice assistants, and bigger AI budgetary allocations from the government are the major factors contributing to this growth,” the report stated.
The momentum is expected to continue in the coming year, said Hari Krishnan Nair, co-founder, Great Learning. “The fact that the number of vacancies in AI has again trumped the number of available professionals despite the industry doubling its talent pool shows the immense employment potential that the sector holds for those willing to upskill and learn AI. We expect to see a large number of experienced professionals transitioning to careers in AI in 2020 as well.”
Bengaluru has again emerged as the most popular destination for AI professionals having created over 23,000 jobs over 13,000 last year, followed by Delhi, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. City-wise remuneration comparison reveals that Mumbai is the highest paymaster at almost ₹17 lakh per annum, followed by Delhi/NCR at ₹15.6 lakh. Chennai on the other hand, is the lowest paymaster at ₹10.8 lakh.
This year, almost 39 percent of AI professionals in India are employed with large-sized companies (more than 10,000 employee base), 29 percent with mid-sized organisations (employee base range of 200-10,000) and 32 percent with startups (less than 200 employees). Women participation continues to remain low – only 26 percent of AI professionals in India are women.
In 2019, the number of Indian companies working on AI trebled from 1000 to 3000. This includes a small number of companies into products (chatbots, AI-powered visual search and recommendation engine) and a larger chunk offering either offshore, recruitment or training services.
IBM India, Accenture, 7.ai, Nvidia Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, Ernst & Young, Genpact, Amazon, eClerx Services, and Capgemini emerged as the top 10 organisations that have contributed to the demand for AI professionals this year, according to the report cited above. Almost 92 percent of job openings in AI are full-time and rest are part-time, internships, or contractual jobs.
As far as the fear of job losses due to AI is concerned, according to a recent PwC survey, 65 percent of the participants agreed that AI is likely to have a severe impact on employment in India. However, 55 percent of the participants also believed that the benefits of AI will outweigh the potential downsides of employment concerns.