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India's Potential Solution to the Global AI Talent Shortage: Upskilling and Unleashing Deep Tech Potential

India's Potential Solution to the Global AI Talent Shortage: Upskilling and Unleashing Deep Tech Potential

The tech world has been abuzz with a trend that's taken center stage in 2023: artificial intelligence (AI). 

Companies are racing to harness the power of AI, with ChatGPT and other cutting-edge technologies leading the way. However, the growing chasm between the surging demand and existing supply of skilled talent has left a void that needs urgent attention.

India, with its burgeoning pool of technology talent, might hold the solution to this global talent crisis.

The 'State of Data Science and AI Skills' report by Nasscom reveals that India boasts 16 percent of the world's AI talent, trailing only behind China. Yet, even with this substantial reservoir, there's a shortage of 213,000 skilled AI professionals in the country. Interestingly, India also boasts one of the largest annual STEM supply lines, contributing 2.25 million graduates annually who, with proper upskilling, could seamlessly fill this talent gap.

The question is, can India fulfill its promise of being the world's talent hub? Abhishek Singh, CEO of the National eGovernance Division, believes so. He envisions India as a major source of skilled AI talent for global tech giants, backed by its remarkable performance in global AI talent indices.

India secures the top spot in the Stanford AI index for GitHub contributions and AI talent penetration. The nation's diverse talent pool also leads in AI Talent Penetration for Women, making it a multifaceted reservoir of potential.

Rituparna Chakraborty, Co-founder and Director of TeamLease Services, reinforces India's standing as the primary source of global tech talent. 

With 65 percent of the world's IT offshore work and 40 percent of global business processing emanating from India, it's evident that the nation is a critical contributor to the tech workforce. Chakraborty notes that around 69 percent of jobs in formal employment are projected to be automated by 2030.

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This transformative potential is reminiscent of the evolution witnessed in India's product management function over the last decade. Startups spurred the growth of this function, which was non-existent a decade ago. 

A similar pattern is emerging in data science and AI, where a considerable pool of skilled graduates is entering the industry. These budding experts are focused on addressing data engineering and science challenges, with the potential to become experts in these domains.

The global spike in demand for AI talent has tech giants competing to secure dominance. Chipmaker NVIDIA and software giants Microsoft and Google are vying for supremacy in the AI realm. 

As AI adoption and innovation grow, India's global capability centers (GCCs) are mushrooming, adding to the demand. This surge opens doors for reconditioning programmers through reskilling programs to meet the rising demand for AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities.

India is witnessing a robust increase in AI talent demand, even in the midst of a tech ecosystem hiring freeze. The data from Foundit Insights Tracker indicates a growing appetite for AI-focused roles. 

In FY23, India saw an average of 74,257 AI-focused job openings per quarter. In the first quarter of FY24, this number jumped to 81,585, projecting a need for 150,000 new AI-related jobs by the end of FY24.

Chakraborty highlights the urgent requirement for upskilling, projecting a 51 percent gap between AI talent demand and supply. She estimates that India will need over 1 million AI professionals by 2024. 

Corporates like TCS, Wipro, and HCLTech are actively investing in training associates in AI capabilities to meet this demand.

NVIDIA has been collaborating with educational institutions to train students in AI skills, including partnerships with major IITs in India. 

Nasscom's FutureSkills Prime Platform offers short-term and graduate-level courses in AI and Emerging Technologies, aiming to equip over 1.4 million registered users with AI skills.

Kirti Seth, CEO of Sector Skills Council at Nasscom, acknowledges the global AI talent shortage and believes India can fill the void. 

While India's local demand is relatively low, its role in serving the world's tech needs is undeniable. As India accelerates its upskilling initiatives and unleashes its deep tech potential, it has the opportunity to address the AI talent crisis on a global scale.


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