An estimated 4,000 open source professionals exist in Australia (a total of 10,000 are employed in the industry). Highly paid and in demand, they form one of the most important subcultures in the technology sector.
If a top-notch Ruby on Rails coder is looking for a new job, which recruitment firm would she turn to? Can you name a company who stands out as an ‘employer of choice’ for open source professionals? Does a specific job board or a community for php developers exist? I know of none. From a recruitment perspective no one in particular owns (serve) the open source space.
One way of looking at the talent landscape is to map the entire workforce into different sub-cultures. The 250 plus job boards in Australia are arranged to serve various groups. Likewise, recruitment firms are often categorised according to the markets and niches they serve. But, look deeper and you will discover many more groups exist and new ones are created daily. The technology sector alone can be sliced and diced into hundreds of subcultures according to age, ethnicity, location, gender, linguistic, education, gender, education or a combination of factors.
The Internet has accelerated two things – the ability for people with similar qualities or common interests to come together and form a distinct group. Secondly, the tools to find, connect and interact with even the most obscure groups are readily available.
Here’s the opportunity – many subcultures remained either unknown or underserved. Planning sourcing strategy according to how people identify and organise themselves is rich in potential. It really is about seeing sourcing from the candidate’s point of view.
If the plan is to serve a sub-culture, it seems to me that the open source community is ripe to be courted.