India doubles AI workforce in 2019, yet large vacancies remain: Report

India doubled its artificial intelligence (AI) workforce in 2019 following advancement in technology and adoption of business intelligence, yet there are a large number of vacancies across sectors due to talent gap, according to a study. The number of AI professionals in India grew to 72,000 in 2019 from 40,000 last year as the number of companies working on AI projects tripled to 3,000 this year from 1,000 in 2018, according to a study on Indian AI industry by ed-tech company Great Learning.

Large scale adoption of business intelligence, rising AI-based optimisation of enterprise processes, improved data management across organisations and bigger budgetary allocations from the government aided this growth, it added.

However, the study found that close to 2,500 positions related to AI continued to remain vacant this year due to lack of talent despite the growth in number of AI professionals.

The study is based on a survey among Indian professionals in AI and Machine Learning industry with varying years of experience, ranging from freshers to mid and senior level executives, across sectors.

According to the study, Indian AI industry’s revenue doubled in size to USD 415 million (about Rs 2,950 crore) in 2019 from USD 230 million (about Rs 1,600 crore) in 2018.

It also revealed that the average work experience of AI professionals in India is 7.2 years, while 29 per cent of AI professionals have more than 10 years of work experience, it said.

Further, the number of freshers joining the field has also grown to 6,000 from 3,700 last year, an increase of over 60 per cent, it added.

„We expect this momentum to continue. Also, 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 huge employment potential that the sector holds for those willing to upskill,“ Great Learning co-founder Hari Krishnan Nair said.

„We expect to see a large number of experienced professionals transitioning to careers in AI in 2020 as well,“ he added.

Bengaluru emerged as the most popular destination for AI professionals, having created over 23,000 jobs as against 13,000 last year, the study said.

It was followed by Delhi (17,000), Mumbai (9,000), Hyderabad (8,000), Pune (7,200) and Chennai (5,800), it added.

As far as remuneration is concerned, the median salary package for AI professionals is Rs 14.7 lakh across all experience level and skill sets, it said.

AI professionals in Mumbai get the highest salary package at almost Rs 17 lakh per annum, followed by Delhi-NCR at Rs 15.6 lakh, it said, adding that AI professionals in Chennai get the lowest remuneration at Rs 10.8 lakh.

Almost 39 per cent of AI professionals in India are employed with large-sized companies, 29 per cent with mid-sized organisations and 32 per cent with start-ups, it said, adding that women participation continues to remain low.

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