Bengaluru: The need for skilling and upskilling reached a new high amid the pandemic and in 2022, big data analytics, along with AI\/ML, are forecast to be most in-demand skills in India, a new report showed on Monday. With rapid tech adoption across industries and entirely tech-enabled sectors such as IT and BFSI, the role of AI and Machine learning will only continue to grow in 2022, with a significant increase in the demand for related roles, according to online recruiting platform Monster. Industry reports suggest that AI\/machine learning investments in India will continue to grow at a CAGR of 33.49 per cent till 2023. To enhance customer engagement, more and more organisations are adopting chat bots which are forecast to empower approximately 45 per cent of organisations' customer support services by 2022. "The future of work is location-agnostic and hybrid, with increased skilling initiatives being undertaken by both employers and employees," said Sekhar Garisa, CEO, Monster.com, a Quess company. Leading tech-enabled industries such as IT, FinTech, BFSI, and crypto will continue to flourish with talent demand spikes. Also ReadNew algorithm can predict COVID-19 complication risk "It is also interesting to note that employee flexibility would be critical towards retaining talent in the future, and the Great Shuffle is a reinforcement of how the huge demand in the jobs market is opening the door for employees to select a career of their choice," Garisa added. According to the annual trends report, Indian IT has continued to hire through the course of the pandemic, and will exhibit similar trends in 2022. "It is encouraging to note that the IT industry is forecast to grow 7 per cent in the current year, and likely to see a gross employee addition of around 450,000 in the second half of FY22," said the report. The top skills organisations are on the lookout for are data science, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, Blockchain and machine learning. "The demand for sales professionals is estimated to increase especially in industries such as fintech, retail, e-commerce and social commerce," the findings showed. With a number of employees preferring remote working and staying in their hometowns, more and more organisations are considering setting up smaller offices in tier 2 cities or utilising co-working spaces to provide employees with better resources and access to technology. This would, in turn, lead to an increased demand to hire across tier 2 cities in the coming months. "Hiring for freshers has picked up over the last three months of the year, and is estimated to increase considerably in 2022. The continuing emergence of startups will further contribute to the demand for entry level professionals across industries," the report noted.