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The Hitchhiker’s Guide To Artificial Intelligence 2019-2020: By AIM & Great Learning

hitchhikers guide

In the last decade, we have seen AI transitioning from an industry buzzword to finally being adopted across various enterprise applications. Indian businesses are analysing how they can make processes more efficient which has led to increasing adoption of artificial intelligence in the enterprise across different verticals. Products and services are being rebuilt with the integration of artificial intelligence with the objective of creating a better experience for end consumers. As enterprises are wary of getting left behind, this has driven the demand for professionals skilled in AI-based technologies. The trend is clear— professionals who are skilled in AI are being rewarded, along with a rising emphasis on upskilling keeping artificial intelligence in the centre.

In collaboration with Great Learning, we have started tracking the AI industry in India over the last two years. The result of the partnership is our annual AI study- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence 2019-2020: By AIM & Great Learning, where we look at the key AI trends dominating the Indian AI market. The study covers professionals, salaries, AI jobs across different Indian cities, and the companies leading in terms of AI hiring in the country.


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The most significant outcome of the study is the much-accelerated growth of the AI industry since last year. Growing by 80%, we see AI is no longer in a hype stage and has observably entered the period of real productivity.

In fact, a WEF report states over 133 million new roles will surface due to AI over the next two years. It is therefore clear that in the coming years, there are going to be many more vacancies in the AI sector, than the number of skilled talent available. The trend is already visible in many enterprises, as most companies fail to implement planned AI projects due to a lack of skilled talent.

In the second half of the report, we cover AI literacy in India through Great Learning’s comprehensive AI/ML programs that are bridging the gap and consequently boosting workforce transitions.

Research Methodology

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence 2019-2020 is a result of a six-month-long survey where we sought responses from Indian professionals in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning industry with varying years of experience– ranging from freshers to mid and senior-level executives. Each respondent was questioned on his/her location, work designation, income level, educational background, experience level, industry type, company size, and tools and aptitudes they use in the profession. The respondents were active across different business verticals including customer service, BFSI, medicine and healthcare, retail, e-commerce, IT products and services and manufacturing. The research methodology also incorporated an efficient arrangement to distinguish the different elements impacting work situations around artificial intelligence in India. Multiple data points were gathered after communicating with organizations across all major cities in India.

Key Trends

The Indian AI market size in 2019 has broken out of the trend that we had seen the years before. This year, the overall market size witnessed a dramatic jump in terms of market growth, which is a great sign for the industry. Here are the key trends of the AI market in India that we found out:

  • Artificial Intelligence Industry in India is currently estimated to be $415 million annually in revenues, up from $230 million a year ago.
  • AI Industry grew by a healthy annual rate of 80% last year. This is an extremely high increase, peculiar with technologies that are in early stages of adoption. 
  • This is a remarkable jump since last year when the industry growth was estimated to be 28%.

In 2019, there are approximately 72,000 AI professionals in India. This is an 80% increase from the year prior when there were 40,000 professionals in AI.

Section 1: AI Professionals In India

At a time when there is an apparent shortage of AI skills, skilled professionals have been critical for the growth we have seen in the last year. Here are the findings of the study that concern the demographics and experience levels for AI professionals: 

  • Out of the 72,000 AI professionals, around 6,000 freshers were added to AI workforce in India in 2019. The number was 3,700 in 2018. 
  • The average work experience of AI professionals in India is 7.2 years — than 6.6 years from last year.
  • Almost 51% of AI professionals in India have a work experience of less than 5 years, which is the same as last year.
  • 29% of AI professionals have more than 10 years of work experience. This work ex is not necessarily in AI but these professionals have transitioned into AI over time.

Women participation in AI workforce remains low – only 26% of AI professionals in India are women. This is still a slight increase from 2018, when the share of women in the Indian AI workforce stood at 24%.

AI Talent Divide Across Companies 

Here we track the spread of AI professionals across different organizations based on employee size. While the trend remains somewhat the same as last year, we found the proportional size of AI professionals increased in large organizations.

  • Almost 39% of AI professionals in India are employed with large-sized companies – with more than 10,000 total employee base. Here, we witness an increase from 2018 when such organizations had employed 37% of the AI workforce.
  • Mid-sized organizations (total employee base in a range of 200-10,000) employ 29% of all AI professionals in India.
  • Startups (less than 200 employees) account for 32% of AI professionals in India. This number has come down from 34% in 2018.


Looking at how long AI professionals have been working in this specific technology domain, we find that there is a clear shift. New professionals are increasingly recognising the AI opportunity and making a transition.

  • On average, AI professionals in India have joined/transitioned to their current role in the last 3 years.
  • 65% of AI professionals in India have joined/transitioned to their current role in the last 2 years.
  • These stats signify that AI is a very recent technology and a huge number of professionals are gravitating towards it.


In India, there are only a handful of destinations for AI professionals and similar to last year, not much has changed in this regard. India’s metropolitan IT hubs is where professionals need to be to snatch the best work opportunities in artificial intelligence space. Here is what we witnessed for 2019: 

  • Bengaluru leads again in terms of the size of the ecosystem as 32% of AI professionals in India are working in the city in 2019.
  • This is closely followed by Delhi NCR at 24%.
  • In 2019, Pune has surpassed Chennai in terms of the percentage share of AI professionals.
  • Hyderabad’s share remains the same this year at 11%, whereas Mumbai saw a decline in its contribution to India’s total AI professionals, falling to 12% from 14% in 2018.


Advanced jobs correlate with advanced degrees, and the fact is evidential from our findings when it comes to the AI professionals. Here are the findings:

  • 48% of AI professionals have a Master’s/ Post Graduation degree, same as last year.
  • 2.6% of AI professionals in India hold a PhD or Doctorate degree.

Section 2: AI Companies In India

We see that there is a growth rate of almost 200% year over year in the number of AI companies in India since 2018. This shows the proliferation of AI in the enterprise space, confirming that companies are catching onto the opportunity in an exponentially fast rate. 

  • Indian tech behemoths TCS and Infosys have paced up their hiring in the emerging tech sector manifold. Numbers show that TCS has increased their hiring in IT by 377% and Infosys by 642%.
  • More than 3,000 companies in India claim to work on AI in some form. This includes a small number of companies into products and a larger chunk offering either offshore, recruitment and training services. Last year, we had found that 1,000 companies reported using AI. 
  • The number of AI companies in India are still very few in number, compared to the strength of analytics companies around the globe. In fact, India accounts for just 12% of global analytics companies. In 2018, we found that Indian companies accounted for 8% of the global share, which indicates a noteworthy growth. 

Company Size

  • On average, Indian AI companies have 81 employees on their payroll. This is slightly lower from 87 last year.
  • Almost 83% of analytics companies in India have less than 50 employees, slightly less from last year at 85%. 
  • As seen from the graph, the number of AI firms with less than 10 employees have decreased from last year and an increase is seen in the number of firms with 200-500 employees.


  • Bangalore leads other cities to house the most number of AI firms in India this year, at almost 31%.
  • It is followed by NCR at 25% and Mumbai at 14% AI companies.
  • Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune are far behind with their percentages of analytics companies in single digits as reflected in the graphs above.

Section 3: AI Salaries in India

In the previous section, we mentioned that that three thousand businesses in India are leveraging AI professionals to create operational value across functions in 2019. The AI market size has seen a tremendous shift upwards since last year, hence, salaries remain attractive for professionals to take notice. 

  • The median AI salary in India is INR 14.7 Lakhs across all experience level and skillsets. This is almost the same as last year.
  • 38% of AI professionals in India command a salary of less than 6 Lakhs. 
  • Almost 4% of AI professionals in India command a salary higher than INR 50 Lakhs

Salary Trend Across Cities

  • Mumbai is the highest paymaster in AI at almost 17 Lakh per annum as median salaries, followed by Delhi/ NCR at 15.6 Lakh.
  • Chennai is the lowest paymaster at 10.8 Lakh.

Section 4: AI Jobs in India

In this section, we look at the number of AI positions in India currently, and the companies offering the most vacancies. The key finding is that compared to 2018, there are fewer AI positions waiting to be filled. Additionally, we observed that India’s contribution to AI-related job openings declined slightly despite it being already small compared to the AI job openings worldwide.

  • While, it is difficult to ascertain the exact number of open AI job openings; according to our estimates, close to 2,500 positions related to AI are currently available to be filled in India.
  • Compared to worldwide estimates, India contributes 7% of open job openings currently. Growth in the number of AI jobs globally was much higher than India.
  • Our numbers suggest that the top 10 leading organisations with the most number of AI openings this year are – IBM India, Accenture, 24/ 7 Customer, Nvidia Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, Ernst & Young, Genpact, Amazon, eClerx Services & Capgemini.
  • Almost 92% of AI jobs advertised in India are on a full-time basis, rest are part-time, internships or contract basis jobs.

AI Jobs By Cities

  • In terms of cities, Bengaluru accounts for around 36% of AI jobs in India. This is down from 37% last year.
  • Delhi/ NCR comes second contributing 17% AI jobs in India. This is down from 30% last year.
  • Approximately 11% of AI jobs are from Mumbai, almost the same as last year.

Salary Requirement for AI Jobs

  • The salaries advertised for jobs are usually substantially lower than the actual salaries offered in the industry.
  • On a median, the AI jobs advertised in India are offering a salary of 11.6 Lakhs per annum. This is substantially lower than the actual salary median of 14.7L for AI professionals.


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Artificial Intelligence 2019-2020: By AIM & Great Learning found a steady growth in AI field in India, both in terms of market growth and the number of professionals added to the analytics workforce. Looking at the increasing number of jobs in AI, coupled with the void created due to the lack of skilled mid and upper-level management, education is one of the crucial ways this talent gap can be filled. In a modern enterprise, AI is not only needed at a product and development-level, but it is also of vital importance in decision-making.

The key trends that we predict we will see in 2020 revolve around the mass acceptance and usage of artificial intelligence at an enterprise as well as consumer-level. New trends such as explainable AI, augmented analytics, hyper-automation and quantum computing, among others, are paving the path for creation and usage of advanced products and services to look forward to in 2020.

Some of the other important trends we suggest that readers look forward to are:

  • Large scale adoption of business intelligence
  • Rising AI-based optimization of enterprise processes
  • Improved data management across Indian organizations
  • Increasing use of chatbots and NLP voice assistants from end consumers
  • Bigger AI budgetary allocations from the government

You can access the full report here:

Download the complete report

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Prajakta Hebbar
Prajakta is a Writer/Editor/Social Media diva. Lover of all that is 'quaint', her favourite things include dogs, Starbucks, butter popcorn, Jane Austen novels and neo-noir films. She has previously worked for HuffPost, CNN IBN, The Indian Express and Bose.

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