What’s The Job Market Outlook For India’s AI Workforce?

The current growth in artificial intelligence in India can be attributed to the rise of startups in AI, machine learning and deep learning fields, as well as enterprises building up dedicated COEs to shore up AI and ML capabilities in-house. According to the AI Task Force’s 76-page report, there are about 750 startups in India which have created a lot of buzz and are building a robust AI ecosystem in India. Besides, a slew of Indian government initiatives around AI such as Digital India and the push towards creation of skills by Indian think tank Niti Aayog have created a positive buzz around the emergent technologies.

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According to a recent PwC survey, 65 percent of participants believed that AI is likely to have a severe impact on employment in India; but on the other hand a majority of respondents believed that the benefits outweigh any employment concerns as AI will open up opportunities for people to do more value-added work. As enterprises are still assessing the business impact of AI, machine learning topped nearly every industry from IT/ITeS to BFSI to Education, emphasised the PwC survey. Sudipta Ghosh, Partner and Leader, Data and Analytics at PwC India noted that the current market demands we not only work towards upskilling workforce, but also produce the smartest machines that can work with us.

Job Market Expectations – Who’s Hiring AI Professionals In India

Bengaluru-based outbound hiring firm startup Belong states that due to the exponential increase in the adoption of AI and automation across organisations, demand for AI professionals has increased. This trend will continue in 2018 with a higher demand for AI and robotics professionals despite the onslaught of automation. Another news report states that there is a 50-60 percent higher demand for AI and robotics professionals in 2018 even in the face of automation. Meanwhile, global consulting leader Accenture estimates AI will add $957 billion to India’s GDP by 2035.

  • Belong’s Talent Supply Index denotes a huge workforce gap in emergent technologies
  • For example, only 4 percent of AI professionals have worked on cutting-edge technologies such as deep learning and neural networks
  • Meanwhile, there is a skewed ratio of people to jobs in areas such as deep learning, machine learning and NLP
  • For every 1,000 jobs, only 530 professionals are there for DL, 630 for machine learning roles and 710 for NLP
  • The acute demand supply mismatch is accentuated by a lack of core data science disciplines in engineering institutions. Barring a few top academic institutions like IITs and IISc that have dedicated programs, most engineering institutions do not have ML as part of their curriculum
  • Meanwhile, there are a total of 386 active AI researchers in India  
  • The leading hotspots for AI work in India are Bengaluru, New Delhi and Mumbai and leading companies for AI research are IBM, Microsoft, Flipkart, Amazon
  • According to our research the top 10 leading organisations hiring AI professionals are Adobe, Accenture, Amazon, JP Morgan, SAP, L&T Infotech, Nvidia, Intel, Wipro
  • Banking and finance are the biggest drivers of employment in AI after e-commerce domain. The rise in AI adoption in finance can be attributed to factors like cost-efficiency and accuracy  

India Is Set To Take A Leap Of Faith With AI

There is an uptake in online courses and India Inc is rushing to upskill in areas like machine learning, cloud computing and big data. Enterprises have set up accelerator programs in an attempt to foster talent and get solutions from vertical focused AI startups which are powering emergent technologies. In addition to this, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Adobe have ramped up their efforts to contribute to research and education. Flipkart is focused on building next set of AI products to scale its business and boost growth.

Meanwhile, the government’s impetus would go a long way in strengthening India Inc in AI and robotics. the Digital India budget has been doubled to ₹3,073 crore in 2018 and the government plans to set up Centres of Excellence for research, training and skilling in robotics, artificial intelligence, digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication and internet of things.

Top engineering schools like IITs, IIITs and IISc are also leading in academic-industry partnerships to drive growth, plug the talent gap and provide targeted industry solutions.  Meanwhile, the AI Task Force is chalking out plans to establish data banks and data exchanges to facilitate the availability of cross industry data and information. It is also working towards policy framework to enable development and deployment of AI based products and encourage industry-academia participation.

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Richa Bhatia
Richa Bhatia is a seasoned journalist with six-years experience in reportage and news coverage and has had stints at Times of India and The Indian Express. She is an avid reader, mum to a feisty two-year-old and loves writing about the next-gen technology that is shaping our world.

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