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India turns into one of the world’s largest pools for AI talent

Nasscom’s report stated that even the advanced adopters of AI and automation services across Indian enterprises are at early stages—i.e. they are acquiring AI services from technology companies and deploying across departments for operational efficiencies, and not innovating to build their own services on top of AI platforms. Photo: iStockPremium
Nasscom’s report stated that even the advanced adopters of AI and automation services across Indian enterprises are at early stages—i.e. they are acquiring AI services from technology companies and deploying across departments for operational efficiencies, and not innovating to build their own services on top of AI platforms. Photo: iStock

  • According to a report, despite accounting for a meagre 1% of the global AI market, the country produces 16% of the world’s AI talent pool—the third highest in the world

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NEW DELHI : India has turned into one of the world’s largest pools for artificial intelligence talent, even as adoption of AI grows at a slow pace in the country.

According to a report by Microsoft, consultancy firm Bain & Company, and industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), despite accounting for a meagre 1% of the global AI market, the country produces 16% of the world’s AI talent pool—the third highest in the world.

In India, demand for AI talent comes on the back of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that seek AI contractors, and large organizations that are in search of AI and machine learning talent for digital transformation.

However, despite the country being a major hub for AI talent globally, the gap in demand and supply for AI-educated employees is wider than ever.

This was highlighted in another report published on 23 June by industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), which noted that while demand outpaced supply of AI talent in India by around 14% in 2018, the gap widened to 33% last year.

Yet, even though AI adoption in India has grown at a steady pace over the past one year, it still remains an early-stage market.

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Nasscom’s report stated that even the advanced adopters of AI and automation services across Indian enterprises are at early stages—i.e. they are acquiring AI services from technology companies and deploying across departments for operational efficiencies, and not innovating to build their own services on top of AI platforms.

According to Kashyap Kompella, chief executive of AI industry analysis firm RPA2AI, India is still a maturing market when it comes to AI, which is why a larger section of the demand for AI talent comes from markets outside the country.

“In a market such as the US, there is strong demand for AI talent, which is one of the areas that Indians fulfil," he said. This, along with other global markets, is contributing to an uptick in demand for Indian AI talent.

This demand is being augmented by early stage AI adopters among enterprises, which are also upskilling existing human resources to fulfil their AI requirements.

Saikat Banerjee, associate partner, technology and cloud services at Bain, said, “Organizations today already have individuals who have learnt working on data models and engineering, who are being upskilled to learn to build and develop AI applications for their firms."

Banerjee added that the introduction of AI at a university level, as well as the upcoming addition of AI as a study area within schools, could offer a further boost to India’s AI talent pool.

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