The race to find AI talent in India pushes wages to double

AI talent is “carried”

Aditya Chopra, a data scientist, isn’t looking for a new job, but recruiters keep calling him. For Chopra, 36 years old, who is working in the field of AI, it shows that AI talent is being fiercely sought after OpenAI demonstrated the breakthroughs of the ChatGPT chatbot engine. Chopra, who works in the suburbs of New Delhi, says friends in the field get a pay raise of between 35% and 50% every time they switch jobs. “There is a real shortage of AI talent,” he said.

The AI ​​talent recruitment fever is exploding around the world, from Silicon Valley to Europe and Asia. While tech giants like Google of the US or Baidu of China offer the highest compensation packages for engineers who build AI tools, companies in almost every other field, from care to healthcare and finance to entertainment, are also ramping up AI staffing to avoid falling behind as their field is changing drastically.

India is probably the country witnessing the hottest AI talent recruitment fever. The country of more than 1.4 billion people has long been the go-to source for tech personnel for any urgent need. But now, India is also running out of skilled data scientists, machine learning experts, and engineers that companies are looking for.
“The demand for AI talent is seemingly endless. They are the core human resources of a technology business, so it is not possible to outsource them,” said Rahul Shah, co-founder of WalkWater Talent Advisors, a high-level talent-hunting firm.

In an AI talent search order that Shah’s company just processed, the recruiter agreed to pay the candidate more than twice the usual rate.

Freedom Dumlao, chief technology officer of monthly car rental company Flexcar (USA), was interviewed to recruit an engineer in Bangalore (India), but this person said a competitor pledged to give him a car. BMW motorcycles as a reward for getting a job. Dumlao admits such a bonus policy is too much for his company.

India’s technology industry thrives on an abundant supply of affordable workers. Businesses like Tata Consulting Services have built a modern model of outsourcing, in which Western companies use engineers halfway around the world in India to take on jobs. support, service, and software development, often at a much cheaper cost than hiring on-site workers. More than 5 million people are working in technology services in India, according to the National Association of Software and Services.

AI talent is being sought all over the world, especially in India. Source: ICOS

Companies of India (Nasscom).

Major corporations like Google, Microsoft, and have set up businesses in India and hired thousands of local employees. Google currently has nearly 10,000 employees in the country.

The supply of AI personnel is exhausted
But India’s seemingly inexhaustible supply of tech workers is drying up in key sectors. Around 416,000 people are working in AI and data science in India but another 213,000 are needed to meet demand, according to Nasscom estimates.

The problem of AI talent scarcity is likely to get worse. India has added 66 more technology innovation centers (GCCs), bringing the total number of hubs to nearly 1,600. These GCCs, which once handled tasks like IT and customer support, have turned into hubs for business-critical technology like AI. In the first three months of 2023, major US businesses including AllianceBernstein Asset Management, Avis Budget Group car rental, and Warner Bros. Entertainment Media Group. Discovery and aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney has established research and development centers in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.

Vikram Ahuja, a co-founder of ANSR Consulting (USA), a company that helps design and set up technology centers for corporations, said that ChatGPT has boosted the demand for talent in the field of AI.

Last year, ANSR set up 18 GCCs in India. Ahuja expects that number to hit 25 this year.
“Many businesses with Indian employees are accelerating their AI roadmap to gain a competitive advantage,” he said.

“The AI ​​talent crisis will get worse in the next year or two,” said Biswajeet Mahapatra, principal analyst at Forrester Research.
According to a Nasscom report, India has the second largest pool of highly skilled AI, machine learning, and big data talent globally, after the US. The country generates 16% of the world’s AI talent.

Dumlao said he has scoured Bangalore for the past three months to assemble a team of data engineers and computer vision specialists working at Flexcar’s data science center in the city. Flexcar’s team of 60 engineers will help develop AI applications to automatically detect damage when a vehicle is returned by a customer.

Flexcar is using ChatGPT and testing a chatbot to help technicians diagnose and repair vehicles by querying these chatbots.

Many tech workers in India are retooling their skills to land a dream job in AI.

Data engineer Deepak Kapoor, who works for a startup Thinkbumblebee Analytics, is learning more about computer vision and big language models to move into the

AI ​​field, where job opportunities abound. He believes that if he worked in AI in a city like Bangalore, he could easily double his salary.

Biswajeet Mahapatra, principal analyst at Forrester Research, predicts that demand for skilled AI personnel will grow. And India will certainly benefit from the hunt for AI talent.

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