India doubles its AI workforce in 2019; yet 2500 vacancies remain unfilled due to a shortage of talent

New Delhi: A study on the Indian AI industry by Great Learning, India’s leading ed-tech company for working professionals, indicates that the number of jobs getting created in AI have outpaced the talent available in the sector. This year, close to 2500 positions related to AI continue to remain vacant due to lack of talent despite the number of AI professionals in the country almost doubling from 40000 in 2018 to 72000 today. This indicates the massive pace at which AI related jobs are getting created in the country with over 3000 companies claiming to work on AI projects of some or the other kind in 2019, a growth of 200% over 2018.

According to the study, Indian AI industry has also doubled in size with revenues of $415 million in 2019, compared to $230 million a year ago. Most of this growth has been powered by experienced professionals who have transitioned into a career in AI by upskilling themselves over the last few years. In fact, 65% of AI professionals in India have transitioned to their current role from other fields in the last 2 years. The average work experience of AI professionals in India is 7.2 years while 29% of AI professionals have more than 10 years of work experience. That said, the number of freshers joining the field has also grown from 3700 last year to 6000 today, an increase of over 60%. Large scale adoption of business intelligence, rising AI-based optimization of enterprise processes, improved data management across Indian organizations, increasing use of chatbots & NLP voice assistants, and bigger AI budgetary allocations from the government are the major factors contributing to this growth.

Bengaluru has again emerged as the most popular destination for AI professionals having created over 23000 jobs over (13000) last year. It is followed by Delhi – 17000 (9000), Mumbai – 9000 (5500), Hyderabad – 8000 (4500), Pune – 7200 (3200) and Chennai – 5800 (3600). While Mumbai has seen a slight dip in the number of AI jobs created, Pune has witnessed a considerable increase having surpassed Chennai this year.As far as the remuneration is concerned, the median salary package for AI professionals is INR 14.7 lakhs across all experience level and skill sets. City-wise remuneration comparison reveals that Mumbai is the highest paymaster at almost Rs. 17 Lakhs per annum, followed by Delhi/NCR at Rs. 15.6 Lakhs. Chennai on the other hand, is the lowest paymaster at Rs. 10.8 Lakhs.

This year, almost 39% of AI professionals in India are employed with large-sized companies (more than 10k employee base), 29% with mid-sized organizations (employee base range of 200-10k) and 32% with startups (less than 200 employees). Women participation continues to remain low – only 26% of AI professionals in India are women.

Corporate demand

In 2019, the number of Indian companies working on AI trebled from 1000 to 3000. This includes a small number of companies into products (chatbots, AI-powered visual search and recommendation engine) and a larger chunk offering either offshore, recruitment or training services. IBM India, Accenture, 24/7 Customer, Nvidia Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, Ernst & Young, Genpact, Amazon, eClerx Services & Capgemini emerged as the top 10 organizations that have contributed to the demand for AI professionals this year. Almost 92% of job openings in AI are full-time and rest are part-time, internships or contractual jobs.

When it comes to geographies, Bangalore houses the most AI firms in India this year, at 31%. It is followed by NCR at 25%, Mumbai at 14%, Hyderabad at 11%, Pune at 9% and Chennai at 7%. On an average, Indian AI companies have 81 employees on their payroll. This is slightly lower than 87 employees last year. Almost 83% of analytics companies in India have less than 50 employees, slightly less from last year’s 85%. The number of AI firms with less than 10 employees has decreased from last year and an increase is seen in the number of firms with 200-500 employees.

Hari Krishnan Nair, Co-founder, Great Learning said, “It is great to see that in just 1 year, 3 times more organizations in India are working on AI related projects. 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 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.”


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.