Here’s the truth: The tech industry has long had a gender imbalance problem, and it’s starting early. Globally, women complete 53% of STEM university degrees, but in the EU only 34% of graduates in the field are women, according to data from Girls Go Circular.
This has clear domino effects. According to figures from Eurostat, women occupy only 17% of major technological jobs, such as programming, systems analysis or software development.
Start-up financing is also a particular challenge for women in technology. Despite a record amount of capital invested in Europe that year, female founders in 2021 faced less than 1% of the total funding, or €400 million, according to PitchBook data.
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And now, with the advent of the metaverse, these systemic problems are rearing their heads again.
The gender gap of the metaverse
A virtual world, or a collective realm created by the convergence of physical and virtual reality, the metaverse is seen as a shared space where people can interact and participate in a simulated environment that mimics the physical world – albeit in a more enhanced way. The metaverse is powered by six technologies known as “BIGANT,” which stands for blockchain, interactive, gaming, artificial intelligence, network, and the Internet of Things.
Despite last week’s announcement from Meta that its metaverse division lost $4.279 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022, adoption is on the rise. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 10% of employees will regularly use virtual spaces, up from 1% in 2022. It also says that by 2027, 25% of retail organizations with an e-commerce presence will have completed at least one proof of concept for tokenized assets using metaverse technologies .
Some companies are already leveraging the metaverse to build hype, with luxury and consumer goods falling particularly quickly out of the trap.
At last week’s Samsung Unpacked event, the company announced that it will be working with Google and Qualcomm on an upcoming mixed reality platform. Apple, too, is expanding its space footprint, with reports indicating that its long-awaited mixed reality AR/VR headset will arrive in the second half of this year.
Balenciaga gave one of Fortnite’s characters a digital hoodie with the Balenciaga logo that was also available for purchase in person for €725. Lacoste has created digital looks for Minecraft characters, plus a co-branded Minecraft collection of sportswear that can be purchased online. be purchased, and Ralph Lauren has created digital snowwear for Roblox’s Winter Escape, pitched as “the ultimate vacation experience.”
But one problem remains. Right now, there is a significant gender imbalance in the metaverse.
Show McKinsey data women use the metaverse more than men, both to achieve business goals and for leisure. McKinsey’s data shows that 60% of women report implementing more than two metaverse-related initiatives in their organization, and they are 20% more likely to implement multiple metaverse initiatives.
But while they may make disproportionate use of capabilities, female leaders are much scarcer in the industry. Over the past five years, male-led metaverse companies received a greater share of total funding (90%) than female-led metaverse companies (10%).
This matters because the lack of equality has significant knock-on effects. Companies with 30% or more women on their boards have environmental scores that are one and a half times better, as well as four times more R&D investments than companies without women. The bottom line is also affected: McKinsey says top quartile companies for women in executive teams are more likely to have above-average profitability. Not to mention that a lack of diversity in development teams early on leads to deep-seated biases and flawed products.
If you want to make a career in the metaverse and make a difference in this growing industry, there are plenty of interesting positions available, including the three below, plus many more on the House of Talent Job Board.
Lead Game Designer – Metaverse solutions, unlikely, remote
Unlikely is at the forefront of defining what the metaverse can be. The Lead Game Designer — Metaverse Solutions is part of the Metaverse Solutions group and works with experienced game developers familiar with all aspects of the game development lifecycle. You are directly involved in shaping both the technical and commercial direction of how metaverse experiences are developed and launched. If you are proficient in designing and documenting core loops functions and temporal events within a multiplayer context and have experience managing senior and junior designers across multiple design disciplines (e.g. level design, technical design, progression, single player, multiplayer ), read more about the vacancy here.
Software Engineer (Leadership) – Metaworks, Meta, London
Meta is looking for an experienced Software Engineer to join the teams building the core platforms that power the work of the future. Meta aims to solve unique, large-scale, highly complex technical problems, and you drive the team’s goals and technical direction to pursue opportunities that make the larger organization more efficient. You effectively communicate complex functions and systems in detail and understand industry and company-wide trends to help assess and develop new technologies. Interested? Read more here.
XR/Metaverse Advisor, Komodal, Laval
Komodal is a leading provider of consulting services on virtual worlds and the future of the metaverse. It is based in France and is looking for an XR/Metaverse Consultant. You join the production team and research, experiment and push conventional technical limits to detect tomorrow’s innovations related to the metaverse. The role requires a Bac+5 in engineering, IT, design or significant experience in immersive technologies. The candidate will also need knowledge of XR, virtual worlds and the metaverse. Apply here for this vacancy.