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HR's guide to the metaverse: Barriers, adoption rates, and upskilling needed

HR's guide to the metaverse: Barriers, adoption rates, and upskilling needed

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Nine of the most common questions answered about adopting the metaverse for your workforce.

Games such as Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnight, are said to have pioneered the creation of the metaverse experience. Today, thanks to technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) platforms, machine learning (ML), blockchain, 3D graphics, digital currencies, sensors, and VR-enabled headsets, metaverse spaces are entering our daily lives, by bridging both the physical and digital worlds.

In the metaverse, we are seeing real-time, three-dimensional (3D), large-scale virtual environment where people are spending time playing, working, learning, entertaining, and doing things that closely mimic reality.

Emerging as the next big transformational platform, a recent study, titled Industry Insights Report 2023 on Metaverse, took stock on the current landscape and businesses’ readiness for the metaverse, based on a survey of 200 business leaders, and interviews with industry practitioners and experts from NTUC LearningHub (NTUC LHUB) in Singapore.

HRO has summarised FAQs from the report relevant for HR practitioners.

Q1. What is the concept of the metaverse all about?

The metaverse is not just a way to play games or experience gamification. It is a way to cross worlds, from virtual to physical and vice versa. Although 68% of business leaders say it is important for their company to adopt the metaverse to stay competitive, only one in six (15%) is familiar with it and understand the concept well. Another 50% said they are somewhat familiar but do not know much about it.

Q2. What is the metaverse made up of?

The metaverse’s technology stack has four core building blocks: 

Content and experiences
• Virtual environment
• Applications
• Content

• Creator/3D development platforms
• Access and discovery

Infrastructure and hardware
• Network
• Devices, operating systems and accessories

• Payment and monetisation
• Identity 
• Security, privacy and governance

Q3. How can your business start with leveraging the metaverse?

The first step to implementing the metaverse will be to adopt metaverse-related technologies to support the experience. As such, business leaders surveyed in the report are looking to adopt the follow technologies in the next two years: 

  • Cloud computing - 53%
  • Data analytics/artificial intelligence - 51%
  • Internet of things - 43%
  • Augmented reality - 32%
  • 3D modelling - 28%

One of the key aspects of the metaverse involves immersive experiences. As such, these are the top areas that companies intend to use the metaverse for:

  • Virtual work activities - 49%
  • Client engagements - 41%
  • Advertising & marketing - 37%
  • Simulation exercises - 36%
  • Education & training - 34%

About three in four business leaders reveal their company is likely to use the metaverse for commercial purposes such as setting up a business to sell goods and services on the metaverse. 

Q4. How quickly does your company need to adopt the metaverse?

There is no right or wrong answer to this, but according to the study, the current adoption rate related to the metaverse is only at 6%. On the forward outlook, this is the timeline respondents shared about adoption:

  • Not sure - 28%
  • They do not foresee the adoption - 24%
  • In five years or more - 14%
  • In three-four years - 14%
  • In one-two years - 14%
  • Already adopted - 6%

Q5. What the barriers and considerations in metaverse adoption?

The report finds that most business leaders are afraid of tackling the idea of implementing the metaverse due to its complexity, or not having the knowledge or experience in designing technology solutions.

One of the contributors pointed out: "One important factor is that the technology required to fully access and participate in the metaverse, such as virtual reality headsets, is relatively expensive and not widely available. In addition, there is a lack of content and applications available in the metaverse currently, which limits its appeal to users."

Among the respondents, the following were cited as the most important considerations in this decision:

  • Privacy/security concerns - 52%
  • High technology costs - 51%
  • Unsure whether metaverse will bear return on investments - 47%

Further, just over half (51%) of business leaders perceive that their company does not have the knowledge and expertise to adapt to the metaverse.

Q6. How can your workforce be trained in the skills needed for the metaverse?

The majority of business leaders (89%) are open to sending their employees for skills training related to the metaverse. As such, the following are their most preferred modes of training:

  • Courses under government supported training institutions - 53%
  • Provide employees with on-the-job training - 51%
  • Support/sponsor micro-credentials or industry certifications - 44%
  • Enroll employees under massive open online courses (MOOCs) - 40%
  • Support/sponsor traditional degrees related to metaverse skills - 39%

This training is timely as more than half (54%) of business leaders surveyed say metaverse-related skills are required across different roles and departments in their organisation.

Q7. Which job roles are most expected to require metaverse-related skills?

According to the business leaders surveyed, metaverse-related skills will be required among job roles such as:

  • Digital marketer - 43%
  • Software engineer - 41%
  • AI/ML/data scientist - 35%
  • Cybersecurity specialist - 35%
  • Content creator and storyteller - 33%

As such, more than half of business leaders (57%) say they intend to hire talent with requisite skill sets for the metaverse.

Q8. What are the most in-demand metaverse-related job roles?

Business leaders are keen to hire talent to fill job roles that require metaverse-related skills such as software engineers (21%) and digital marketers (20%). Job roles such as cybersecurity specialists (17%) will also be in demand as the metaverse may experience various threats and is potentially vulnerable to data leaks, cyberattacks, and data theft. 

The other in-demand roles include AI/ML/data scientists (18%) and project managers (16%).

Q9. What are the skills your workforce or leaders need to develop to thrive in the metaverse era?

It will be important for the workforce to possess what is known as "critical core skills" to complement their digital competencies. First identified by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), these comprise 16 soft skills grouped into three clusters. Among these, the most important skills for metaverse-related jobs were cited by respondents to be:

  • Creative thinking 56%
  • Digital fluency 46%
  • Adaptability 43%
  • Problem solving 41%
  • Collaboration 41%

The report concluded: "As more individuals and businesses become acquainted with the metaverse, the nature of how ogranisations and their customers interact will inevitably evolve. This signals the need for the workforce to transform as well, to one that has a strong appreciation for technology and armed with digital and critical core skills."

ALSO READ: OCBC launches metaverse platform, aims to nurture design & tech talent through industry collaborations

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Lead image / Shutterstock

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