AI in the Indian Job Market

AI in the Indian Job Market

Apart from technical knowhow, the biggest non-AI skills in demand for AI roles in India are communication, analytical skills and sales skills, says a recent report by LinkedIn. Gone are the days where coders just coded. Today, they must have sectoral understanding, contextualise problems, innovate and communicate well within their teams. That is the recipe for success.

 

The rapid proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been fundamentally reshaping industries and hiring across the globe. While companies with a ‘Head of AI’ position have more than tripled in the past five years itself, growing over 13% since the turn of 2023, the growth in the need for hires equipped with ‘people’ skills indicates that while professionals need technical skills, soft skills also need to be prioritised.

The most recent LinkedIn Future of Work Report on AI wrote:

“Balancing AI skills with people skills is critical to career growth. Tech professionals who have developed one or more of these ‘people’ skills — communication, teamwork, problem-solving, or leadership — in addition to hard skills get promoted more than 13% faster than employees who only have hard skills.”

As AI technologies continue to evolve, they are catalysing significant shifts in the job market landscape, creating both challenges and opportunities for professionals across various sectors. Here we look at the sectors experiencing the most growth in AI-related jobs in India, the essential skills necessary to thrive in this environment, and their potential future implications.

Sectoral Growth in AI-Related Jobs in India

Several sectors in India have witnessed substantial growth in AI-related job opportunities: professional services, technology, information and media, financial services, administrative services and manufacturing rounding off the top 5 sectors, according to the report.

The technology sector stands out as a frontrunner, with companies increasingly investing in AI-driven solutions to enhance productivity and innovation. Notably, software development, data analysis and machine learning engineering have emerged as key roles within this sector, offering lucrative career prospects for skilled professionals.

Furthermore, the healthcare industry too has seen a surge in AI adoption, with applications ranging from disease diagnosis and treatment optimisation to personalised medicine. AI-powered medical imaging, predictive analytics, and virtual health assistants are revolutionising healthcare delivery, driving demand for professionals with expertise in AI algorithms, data science, and healthcare domain knowledge.

The finance and banking sector is another significant player in the AI job market, leveraging machine learning algorithms for fraud detection, risk management, and algorithmic trading. As financial institutions embrace digital transformation, the demand for AI specialists, quantitative analysts, and cybersecurity experts continues to rise, creating diverse opportunities for individuals with a blend of technical and financial acumen.

Moreover, e-commerce and retail companies are also increasingly harnessing AI technologies to personalise customer experiences, optimise supply chain operations, and drive sales growth. Roles such as e-commerce data analyst, AI product manager, and digital marketing strategist are in high demand, reflecting the industry’s shift towards data-driven decision-making and AI-driven innovation.

Skills for Success

In light of evolving labour market dynamics, acquiring and honing relevant skills is essential for professionals seeking to thrive in AI-related roles. In India, knowledge of data structures, Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) were the three most in-demand AI skills in job postings on LinkedIn since December 2022.

Source: LinkedIn

Technical proficiency in programming languages such as Python, R, and Java is of course paramount, as AI applications heavily rely on software development and algorithm implementation. Among the 41,000-odd distinct standardised skills coded and classified by LinkedIn taxonomists, the top skills in the AI category include machine learning, natural language processing, data structures, AI, computer vision, image processing, deep learning, TensorFlow, Pandas (software), and OpenCV, among others. Additionally, expertise in machine learning frameworks like PyTorch and scikit-learn is highly valued, enabling individuals to build, train, and deploy AI models effectively.

Furthermore, a solid foundation in mathematics and statistics is indispensable for understanding the theoretical underpinnings of machine learning algorithms and data analysis techniques. Proficiency in linear algebra, calculus, and probability theory equips professionals with the necessary mathematical tools to tackle complex AI problems and derive meaningful insights from data.

Domain-specific knowledge is also becoming increasingly valuable in AI-related roles, as it enables professionals to contextualise AI solutions within specific industries and domains. Whether in healthcare, finance, e-commerce, or other sectors, understanding the nuances of the industry landscape, regulatory frameworks, and business challenges is crucial for developing tailored AI solutions that deliver tangible value.

Perhaps most crucially, soft skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication are now being regarded as indispensable for success in AI-related roles. The ability to collaborate with multidisciplinary teams, articulate technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders, and adapt to evolving challenges is essential in today’s dynamic job market. The LinkedIn report cited communication skills, analytical skills and sales skills as the three biggest non-AI skills in demand in AI roles in India.

Future Implications

Looking ahead, the proliferation of AI technologies is poised to have far-reaching implications for the job market in India. While AI-driven automation may disrupt certain traditional roles, it also presents opportunities for job creation and skill upgradation across various sectors. As repetitive tasks become automated, there will be a greater emphasis on roles that require human creativity, empathy, and strategic decision-making.

Moreover, the democratisation of AI tools and resources is lowering barriers to entry, enabling individuals from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in AI-related fields. Online courses, MOOCs, and self-paced learning platforms offer accessible avenues for acquiring technical skills and staying abreast of industry trends, empowering individuals to adapt to the changing job market landscape.

Furthermore, interdisciplinary collaboration is expected to become increasingly prevalent, as AI intersects with other emerging technologies such as blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), and augmented reality (AR). Professionals with hybrid skill sets spanning multiple domains will be well-positioned to capitalise on these converging trends and drive innovation across industries.

The Indian AI labour market is undergoing a profound transformation driven by the rise of AI technologies. While certain sectors are experiencing rapid growth in AI-related jobs, success requires a combination of technical expertise, domain knowledge, and soft skills. By cultivating a diverse skill set, embracing lifelong learning, and staying adaptive to change, professionals can navigate the AI-driven job market with confidence and seize the opportunities of the future.

 

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