Umbrella Company Employees specialising in IT contracting would do well to acquire skills in open source technology, according to a poll of 300 IT professionals by CWJobs.co.uk.

Nearly half (48%) of the respondents believe that more open source jobs and contracts are available today than a year ago, and 71% are confident that it will be widely required in the future. Currently, however, 62% of those surveyed believe that businesses are missing out on open source’s potential.

The software was highly rated by 45% of the respondents because of its flexibility, while 33% rated its low cost. 46% believe that businesses and other organisations have not yet understood the benefits that open source can deliver.

CW Jobs’ sales director, Mike Black, said that the software was one of the most disruptive innovations in IT at present, adding: “It promises cheaper, smarter, more reliable solutions; however, it calls for specialist skills, which is presenting a unique recruitment challenge. Businesses must wake up to the benefits of open source and ensure they have the right expertise in place to help realise its full potential. Interestingly, half of IT professionals said they would move into a business because of their open source reputation or willingness to train staff in open source skills.”

Rob Allen of the open source software firm Red Hat said that the technology would continue growing, pushing a new growth in IT recruitment with it. At present the talent pool is still relatively junior, he said, but recruiters should now nurture IT pros with open source skills at the beginning of their careers.

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