The metaverse looks destined took become the world’s first real alternate reality. But in what way will it impact the world of recruitment?
‘Metaverse is an embodied internet’
In many ways, the metaverse sounds like it comes straight out of the missing Matrix film. It is, in essence, the ultimate form of a virtual social network or alternate reality. One where users can communicate, build things, make money and buy real-estate. “You can kind of think about [the metaverse] as an embodied internet”, Mark Zuckerberg told The Vergecast. “Where instead of just viewing content — you are in it. And you feel present with other people as if you were in other places. Having different experiences that you couldn’t necessarily do on a 2D app or webpage. Like dancing or different types of fitness.”
In 2021 alone, Meta has reportedly spent more than $10 billion on AR, VR and related hardware.
Mark Zuckerberg and his freshly-dubbed company Meta are at the forefront of the metaverse charge. The company has been investing in VR technology since 2014, when it bought Oculus for a sum of $2 billion. In 2021 alone, Meta has reportedly spent more than $10 billion on AR, VR and related hardware. Meanwhile, a report from March, 2021 stated that Meta is said to have nearly 10,000 employees (a fifth of its workforce) working in its Reality Labs, where VR and AR innovation is the sole objective.
Meta amps up hiring plans in Europe
But those numbers could soon grow much higher. As Zuckerberg and Meta took up all major headlines with its metaverse announcement, it quickly came joined with another statement of intent from Nick Clegg, Meta’s VP Global Affairs and Javier Olivan, Meta’s VP Central Products. In a joint-statement, the pair announced to the world that Meta looks to create 10,000 new, highly-skilled jobs in the EU to help build the metaverse.
It is, by all means, a staggering statement considering Europe, like much of the world, is currently facing an enormous shortage of talent. A statement that holds particularly true to the world of IT. A Gartner survey revealed that the lack of talent is cited by IT executives as the most signification adoption barrier. “The ongoing push toward remote work and the acceleration of hiring plans in 2021 has exacerbated IT talent scarcity”, said Yinuo Geng, research vice president at Gartner.
“As we begin the journey of bringing the metaverse to life, the need for highly specialised engineers is one of our most pressing priorities.”
Meta, meanwhile, seems undeterred. “We have long believed that European talent is world-leading, which is why we have invested in it so heavily over the years”, Clegg and Olivan said. “As we begin the journey of bringing the metaverse to life, the need for highly specialised engineers is one of our most pressing priorities. We look forward to working with governments across the EU to find the right people and the right markets to take this forward, as part of an upcoming recruitment drive across the region.”
‘The metaverse is heading way beyond’
But it is important to acknowledge it’s not just Meta that pursues an idea of the metaverse, William Geldart, Brand & Labs Lead at global recruitment partner BPS World tells Recruitment Tech. “Ultimately, while Meta/Facebook has made its big play on the metaverse, the potential scale means there will be tons of organisations involved”, Geldart says. “Facebook or Meta is NOT the metaverse — even though they’d probably like you to believe otherwise.”
“The metaverse is heading way beyond – into space, into real estate, into engineering, you name it.”
And while the entertainment industry has so far stolen a march when it comes to all things AR, VR — Geldart expects brands and markets to follow. “It’ll be especially interesting to see how quickly accessible the metaverse becomes, not only to enterprise-level firms, but also to mid-size companies and SMEs”, he says. “When I posted my thoughts in 2020, the metaverse hype was largely still centred around today’s players in crypto and entertainment. However, the flashy, kind of gimmicky stuff is only scratching the surface. It’s the neon sign inviting you in, but the metaverse is heading way beyond – into space, into real estate, into engineering, you name it.”
“To some degree the acceleration in remote working will prove to be a leveller for the metaverse.”
Overall, Geldart foresees a ‘huge boom’ in new job titles and disciplines associated with the metaverse. “This will create further hiring challenges and demand for new skills”, Geldart says. “Since the turn of the century, we’ve seen social media spawn an entire industry. Then Fintech exploded and now we’ve got Blockchain and crypto companies scaling at an exponential rate. Of course, when ‘Big Tech’ companies get involved it’s natural to assume (and in many cases, correct) that they’ll set-up camp somewhere and hoover up all the local talent. To some degree the acceleration in remote working will prove to be a leveller.”
‘It could create endless possibilities for recruitment’
As far as the true impact on recruitment as we know it, much is still uncertain. Will we see companies aiming to hire for roles in the metaverse? Or will all IT specialists be hired away en masse to work on the metaverse? Will recruitment as we know it change forever into a more metaverse-applicable manner? “With regards to recruitment, the metaverse could create endless possibilities”, Geldart says.
“Bringing recruiters and candidates closer together within the metaverse opens new avenues to engage. And ultimately this could prove mutually beneficial.”
Geldart sees several things changing through the metaverse, including a more instantaneous and impactful interaction between candidates and recruiters. “As a result, the whole recruitment process becomes far less transactional and dehumanised”, he says. “For example, recruiters typically run cold outreach, network to get referrals or perhaps deal with inbound or job board applications. At the same time, candidates are applying for roles with companies they only really know at a surface level. Bringing recruiters and candidates closer together within the metaverse opens new avenues to engage. And ultimately this could prove mutually beneficial.”
‘It will be interesting to see who jumps first’
More benefits could ensue, Geldart argues. “Recruiters will get access to more candidates without performing mundane tasks or running countless automation sequences that are highly impersonal”, he says. “And candidates can enter safe spaces. Metaverse talent communities, if you will. And have far more one-on-one interaction while gaining access to greater sources of information before they choose to apply. As an industry, recruitment doesn’t tend to be quick out of the blocks when it comes to technological innovation, so it’ll be interesting to see who jumps in first.”
“In the the next 10 years I expect we’ll witness further growth in the creator economy. Thereby fuelling the metaverse while at the same creating fresh hiring needs.”
One thing is sure, Geldart notes: organisations will have to respond in some capacity in the not too distant future. “In some board rooms, execs will already be asking: ‘What’s our metaverse strategy?’. This question will need an answer, even if it’s just at an experimental level. Where we’ve arrived has been a decade-plus in the making. In the the next 10 years I expect we’ll witness further growth in the creator economy. Thereby fuelling the metaverse while at the same creating fresh hiring needs.”