It goes without saying that the demand for artificial intelligence and the skills related to the subject is growing at an exponential rate. Every country in the world is racing to adopt this technology as the potential benefits could be game changing. India in particular has always had an affinity for technology; often churning out respectable talent in tech.

However, although the number of AI professionals in India has doubled, 2,500 related positions remain vacant. This indicates that the number of jobs being created thanks to the advent of AI has outpaced even India’s impressive ability to create talent; according to a study by Great Learning, India’s leading ed-tech company.

The number of AI professionals in India has almost doubled from 40,000 in 2018 to 72,000 by the end of 2019. 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.

Despite this very impressive growth in AI talent, the fact remains that positions involving AI remain unfilled. One of the possible reasons for this could be due to employers seeking a combination of certain 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, the Indian AI industry has also doubled in size with revenues of US$415 million in 2019, compared to US$230 million in 2018. The majority of the growth was spearheaded by experienced professionals who have transitioned over into a career in AI via upskilling over the past few years. In fact, the majority of AI professionals in India (65 percent) have transitioned into their new roles from other fields over the last two years.

Only about 35 percent of these professionals learnt about AI from scratch. 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.

Despite the seemingly smalls number of fresh AI professionals joining the field, this number has in fact grown 60 percent from 3,700 in 2018 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 rose to fame as being the most popular destination for AI professionals in 2018, creating 13,000 jobs in the field. It has once again proven its popularity by creating over 23,000 jobs in 2019. Other impressive AI destinations in India include Delhi, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. City-wise remuneration comparison reveals that Mumbai is the highest paymaster at almost ₹1,700,000 (approx. US$23,800) per annum.

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