The metaverse at first glance

17th February 2022
Beatrice O'Flaherty

Everyone is talking about the metaverse and what it may bring. A report by Dell Technologies has suggested that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. Statistics such as this may worry recent graduates that fret their newly-acquired degrees are void of use as they can’t learn skills which are not yet even in existence. 

However, a great case can be made for the positive potential that facts like this can offer the world of work. With technological innovation creating endless possibilities for people across all sectors, this year’s latest craze is set to bring about ample job opportunities.

The metaverse is rapidly taking the world by storm, a concept that amalgamates VR and AR into an immersive online experience in which people will be able to virtually socialise. With already over £150m invested into British VR companies – a record high for this sector – job listings have skyrocketed for metaverse-related roles.

Job postings for crypto-related roles have soared up 465% from a year ago. In October of 2021, there were there reportedly 47 metaverse job postings in the UK. This January that stood at 250. It is undeniable that with this digital transformation, capitalism has opened up a plethora of prospects.

How will these jobs look?

Adzuna, a job search engine, recently noted that ‘metaverse’ has become a top buzzword amongst searches. Two thirds of metaverse opportunities are, as many would guess, clustered under the tech sector. However, this still leaves a considerable gap in the market for other sectors.

Advertising & Marketing, PR and Creative & Design are just a few amongst many possible areas that metaverse recruiters will target. Adzuna also posited that openings will begin to emerge for UI, UX and animation designers, developers, writers and data scientists.

Engineers by nature are pragmatic problem-solvers. Consider the emergence of Blockchain Engineering, still a fairly novel and adapting field. Leo SaLemi exemplifies this in his own writing as he describes experts’ opinions on the job requirements:

“The Blockchain Engineer needs to be comfortable with learning as they go since this is a new and emerging field with very little formal training around; they must have the ability of ‘adopting a new mindset’ which focuses on efficiency, scalability, and distributed computing… A Blockchain Engineer will need to be a hybrid of a junior economist, an API developer, a data geek and an auditor.”

Similar specifications can be applied to conversations surrounding the metaverse, a concept that still we know relatively little about. It is clearly of paramount importance that those looking to be a part of it are prepared to act and think quickly.

Seeking Alpha, an investing community, similarly compared the metaverse to “the internet of the early 1990s or the smartphone of the early 2000s”. It envisaged great disruption to life as we know it.

Those that have been working remotely prior to, during or since the pandemic, may begin to experience a new type of ‘virtual meeting’. Many already engage with forms of VR for activities such as sports and gaming, but both the potential and desire for social meetups through a headset is veering closer.

Metaverse threatening diversity initiatives

As with many exciting ideas, the metaverse brings with it an array of concerns. Within just a minute of entering the metaverse, one woman reported that she was “gang raped” by other avatars. Given the lifelike experience that VR and AR offer, the victim compared the psychological experience to one similar to that which could occur outside of the metaverse.

Alongside these serious risks, such as assault and harassment, other questions have arisen regarding even the safety of users inside the metaverse. Lexology, a provider of legal information has challenged the metaverse’s capability to protect users from discrimination.

As users adopt their avatars they may be endowed with a newfound sense of creativity. Though altering your physical appearance in real life is not unheard of, it can be both costly and time-consuming.

This unbridled potential to manually choose your aesthetics may offer progressive niches such as selecting the gender that you identify with. Unfortunately, it also opens up issues of representation as people battle with the oversexualisation of avatars or the potential for certain physical features to be exaggerated or chosen to mock others.

However the metaverse proceeds, it is certain that a great deal of consideration must be given to uphold diversity and address concerns of safety. Hopefully the flood of job roles that it seems to have unleashed will help to onboard the brightest minds for a brighter future.

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