Open source professional — The blue-eyed boy in the talent pool

50 per cent hiring managers are likely to increase hiring of open source professionals in the next six months and with good reason


With millions of employees having to convert their homes into offices, organisations have been forced to accelerate their digital transformation efforts earlier than expected. As a result, the need for new talent and skills has also increased in the last 14 to 16 months. It is not surprising then that the use of cloud technologies and adoption of DevOps practices has gone up, and so has the hiring of open source professionals.

What exactly is open source talent?

Open source talent form part of an open community which collaborates to build and develop open source software. The open source community became popular in the 1980s with Richard Stallman, a free software movement activist in the US, who introduced the concept of open source collaborations. The open source community develops open source software, which are available for use, modification, and distribution with their original rights. In the last three years, as per the report, there has been a significant rise in companies tapping these communities for opens source tech talent.

Why the rush?

Why is there a mad rush amongst hiring managers to acquire the best talent available in the open source talent pool? Well, the digitisation process has certainly taken a big leap. As per a report by Linux Foundation, which surveyed over 200 hiring managers and open source professionals, 61 per cent of professionals say that the use of cloud technologies in their organisation has increased in the last one year. The report reveals that Microsoft’s customers have seen two years of digital transformation in the last two months! That is not all. About 88 per cent of professionals report using DevOps practices at work today.

The report also reveals that 50 per cent of hiring managers are keen to increase the hiring of open source professionals in the next six months, as compared to the last six months.

It is not just the hiring managers who reveal their intentions to hire more open source talent, but the open resource professionals themselves feel their demand has grown this year, with head hunters approaching them more than ever before. About 55 per cent of open source professionals received more calls from recruiters, while the figure was only 41 per cent last year. Also, 55 per cent of open source professionals think that it is quite easy for them to get a job.

What is expected of open source professionals?

Wondering what are some of the top skills that hiring managers expect open source professionals to bring to the table? As per the report, cloud and container technologies top the charts this time of the year, with 48 per cent of the hiring managers rating these as the most important and in-demand skills at the workplace.

Linux development and administration is at the second spot with 35 per cent of hiring managers voting this as one of the most valuable skills expected in an open source professional. Network technologies takes the third spot with 26 per cent, followed by DevOps practices (24 per cent) and security practices (23 per cent).

Skills come at a price

When these open source professionals are so much in demand, it becomes even more difficult to retain such precious talent. A whopping 92 per cent of hiring managers feel it is challenging to retain this in-demand talent. Since the community of open source talent is limited and every company is targeting the same talent pool, competition to acquire this talent is high. Leveraging this surge of demand amidst the shortage of supply, open resource professionals have put a price tag to their skills and services in the market. In fact, 48 per cent of the respondents state that salary would be the strongest incentive and motivation for them to move to another employer. This is followed by opportunity for bonus, at 34 per cent. People’s desire to learn and grow has also emerged in this report, with 35 per cent of respondents seeing learning opportunities as a perk to stay on longer with a company.

Understanding the needs of open source talent, companies have also responded well to this retention challenge. Little wonder then that 39 per cent companies are hiking salaries to retain their open resource talent, with 38 per cent giving bonuses and more learning opportunities and 25 per cent using training as a perk to retain this talent.

While hiring is on a recovery mode as per this year’s Jobs Report, open source tech talent seems to have become more crucial than ever before.

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