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Developing the future UK tech sector through open source contributions

17 January : 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

As the UK seeks to become the next Silicon Valley it faces the challenge of a skills gap. Talent flight and migration has always attracted UK talent to the US. Whilst this is typical of all countries a common language has made this more apparent in respect of UK talent.

Open source software offers individuals based anywhere in the UK with a device, connectivity, and basic education in tech the opportunity to develop and hone their skills through code and other contributions to open source projects.

As they contribute to projects they build a living CV on GitHub etc. This and their progress can be seen by users of these projects and GitHub across the planet.

With the ability to remote work, open source employees are based globally and work for top international companies from High Tech to start-ups across the world, and particularly the Bay Area where open source is best understood as forming the basis of today’s digital world.

By building this living CV on GitHub UK-based talent may move from being part of the open source community to employed individuals leveraging the skills they have honed in open source with their global employers. Many will go on to build careers as part of the global tech sector despite remaining in the UK.

These individuals crew the open source submarine under the UK’s digital economy and in 2022 27% of UK tech sector Gross Value Add (GVA) came from them and UK based open source companies. This number has the potential to grow to benefit the UK economy whilst at the same time we see talent flight stemmed.

OpenUK has been building awareness of the UK-based open source businesses and individuals contributing both code and other skills to global open source projects, products and companies. The UK is number one in Europe in terms of the number of contributors to open source software and lines of code contributed. You can see more in its reports, particularly its 2023 Skills report, OpenUK Reports

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House of Commons Committee Room 09
Houses of Commons, Palace of Westminster
London, SW1A 0AA United Kingdom
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