- Searches for AI-related jobs on Indeed decreased by 14.5% from May 2018 to May 2019, according to a report from the job hunting site.
- According to the Austin, Texas-based company, the drop in interest indicates there isn't sufficient AI talent in the market to fill all the open positions.
- The decline also matches with a gradual, multiyear slowdown for job postings for AI-related roles. While AI job postings on Indeed grew 29% over the last year, it's a drop-off from almost 60% between 2017 and 2018.
AI adoption at an enterprise level and the availability of AI-driven services are projected to rise, analysts believe.
The contraction found in Indeed's data speaks to an enterprise-level reckoning with the complexities of AI, and a disconnect between the technology's promises and company's ability to adopt it, said Mukul Krishna, Digital Media Global Head of Practice at Frost & Sullivan.
"People have been chasing predictive [analytics] before making sure they nail deductive and descriptive," said Krishna, in an interview with CIO Dive. "A lot of people have been launching pilots and seeing them fail. They're asking, why isn't this working?"
Industry shouldn't read the dip in demand as the phasing out of AI. Krishna predicts a steady need for AI talent, though the market has currently absorbed what it needed.
"As it starts building up over the next couple of years, you'll see the need again ramp up," said Krishna. "The best way to describe it is how my economics professor in college would say: You have a snake that gobbles a rabbit, and then goes back to its hole to digest it."
In other, perhaps less savage words: companies must first take care of laying out a data analytics foundation before rolling out complex AI solutions.
That said, companies' inability to secure the talent they need in a timely manner, Krishna said.
Regardless of demand, data suggests the AI field must grapple with shortcomings in diversity and inclusion, a trait that spans the entire tech industry.
Women are vastly underrepresented in the industry, making up just 20% of AI professors and 18% of authors at leading AI conferences, per a report from New York University's AI Now institute.
If it's to fill the needs driven by that next wave of AI, industry must democratize access to skill-building platforms, said Sameer Maskey, CEO of AI solutions provider Fusemachines.
Skills like algebra, statistics and calculus complement AI, and should be a target area for diversity initiatives, Maskey said, in an interview with CIO Dive. "We need to constitute training programs on basic math to get them up to speed, and then start training at high level."
Correction: In a previous version of this article, Mukul Krishna was credited as Digital Media Global Head of Practice at CB Insights. This story has been updated to clarify he works at Frost & Sullivan.