Companies Are Struggling To Find The Right Open-Source Talent

Though in hot demand, companies are struggling to find the right talent, says the 2021 Open Source Jobs Report by EdX and the Linux Foundation.

92% of hiring managers surveyed have reported difficulty finding open source talent, according to the latest 2021 Open Source Jobs Report by the Linux Foundation and EdX. Emphasising the importance of open source talent, 97% of hiring managers say that hiring open source talent is a priority; 50% are increasing open-source hiring this year. 

This year’s report includes survey findings and analysis generated from more than 200 technical hiring managers and 750 open source professionals worldwide. 

Though we are slowly moving out from the pandemic, it has left its mark on the hiring process and the ability to attract and retain talent. Cloud adoption has increased manifold. The report finds that the demand for open source talent is being driven primarily by organic growth within organisations, as reported by 50% of hiring managers. The second most common response was that organisations had increased their use of open source, leading to talent shortages, as reported by 38% of hiring managers.


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Maneesh Sharma, General Manager, Github, says, “There is a fundamental shift happening in the technology landscape across the globe, as well as in India. Businesses of all sizes and sectors are becoming software-driven companies and feeling the pressure of developing secure, reliable and scalable software – fast. India’s businesses have expedited their digital transformation, and the pandemic has prompted them to adopt more flexible working practices to continue to promote innovation and stay relevant. Some of the biggest benefits for organisations to adopt open-source is the acceleration in innovation, faster time to market and financial benefits. 

Image Source:  2021 Open Source Jobs Report  

Kavita Viswanath, General Manager, Jfrog, India, says, “With the sudden increase in cloud-native adoption, the overall talent pool has shrunk since the demand has outgrown supply. Given this landscape and increased adoption of open source, the talent crunch is felt even more here. OS technologies are slowly going mainstream as customers are increasingly looking at quicker, customisable and easier ways to go live on low priority and non-business-critical applications. This practice will continue, thereby pushing the boundaries for in-house open source talent to help with adoption and support.”

Hiring certified professionals is a priority

Though Covid-19 slowed down the hiring process, skills in open source have remained in demand throughout this time. The report finds that 50% of hiring managers plan to increase their hiring of open source professionals in the next six months, compared to the last six months. 88% claimed that hiring certified professionals is a priority. This has increased from 57% in 2020.

In terms of the hottest skill sets in 2021, the most in-demand are cloud and container technologies (46%), Linux development and administration (35%), networking technologies (26%), DevOps Practices (24%), and security practices (23%).

Image Source:  2021 Open Source Jobs Report 

A majority of professionals (88%) report using DevOps practices in their work today, compared to 75% last year and 58% in 2018. The more than 50% increase in DevOps usage in three years indicates that the industry continues to move beyond quarterly release cycles to continuous deployment.

Most hiring managers (58%) state they are increasing training for existing employees to close the skills gap. This training increase is similar to the 57% who said this in 2020 and up from 42% in 2018. In 2018, the most common response to this question was to simply continue looking until the right applicant came along, a tactic used by 50% of employers.

Headhunted more than ever now 

The practise of delaying the hiring process till the right candidate came along dropped from 50% in 2018 to 43% in 2020 and only 22% this year. The decrease in delay tactics implies that employers have either realised that the ideal candidate is not out there or that they simply cannot afford to wait and must consider alternatives to close the skills gap. 

The report added, “Open source professionals report being headhunted more in 2021 than during the past several years, with 55% of professionals receiving more outreach in the past six months than the prior six months. During the pandemic in 2020, only 29% reported receiving more outreach, while 21% heard from recruiters less often. Only 10% of respondents this year stated the volume of recruiter outreach has decreased for them.”

Image Source:  2021 Open Source Jobs Report

Effort to hire a more diverse workforce

In terms of diversity, the increase in diversity hiring compares to only 76% of employees who feel their companies are making an effort to hire a more diverse workforce. This is a notable 27% increase since 2018. The report said that even with this growth, a perception gap persists with employers believing they are doing more to encourage diversity than their rank and file staff sees happening.

Viswanath feels that this can be addressed. She adds, “The OS community needs more contribution across industries, domains and also different levels of experts as also diverse views. While organisations look to improve their diversity ratio consciously, there is no effort today to transition this diversity into OS projects. This needs to be driven with the same level of passion as with organisational diversity.”

Open source will be a major force to reckon with in the future. Sharma informs, “As businesses embrace open-source best practices and bring those within the corporate firewall, a practice called ‘innersourcing’, they become more efficient by building on existing code and focusing on solving new challenges, reducing duplicate efforts, breaking down barriers and achieving faster collaboration.

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Sreejani Bhattacharyya
I am a technology journalist at AIM. What gets me excited is deep-diving into new-age technologies and analysing how they impact us for the greater good. Reach me at

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