Metaverse job market plunges 81 percent in two months
Concerns about a weakening economy are leading to lower investment, especially in the technology sector. This is reflected in the significantly fewer job postings for the Metaverse.
The Corona pandemic, Russia’s war against Ukraine, and the US Federal Reserve’s overly stimulative monetary policy have taken their toll on the global economy. The interest rate pressure that now follows and a possible recession are hitting investment-intensive and high-risk sectors – such as the metaverse bet – particularly hard.
The Metaverse boom had bad timing
When Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg refocused his company on the metaverse in June 2021, it was just before global financial markets reached their temporary peak in November 2021. Since December 2021, things have been mostly downhill due to supply shortages, the Ukraine war, and high inflation.
Technology companies, especially Meta, have been hit hard: Low user growth, a weakening online advertising market in recession, and simultaneous billion-dollar investments in the Metaverse bet have taken their toll on Meta’s share price. Since the beginning of the year, Meta has lost about 50 percent of its enterprise value.
As a result, even the highly profitable Metaverse pioneer has to watch its costs and announced fewer new hires and project cuts at Meta’s Metaverse division, Reality Labs.
81 percent fewer Metaverse jobs since April
A study by New York-based labor market analyst Revelio Labs now shows that Metaverse jobs are suffering particularly badly in the current economic conditions.
According to the study, Metaverse job searches exploded after Meta’s Metaverse unveiling in July 2021 and especially since January 2022, then plummeted about 81 percent in just two months between April and June 2022. The analytics firm searched all industries for job descriptions with metaverse in the title.
Jin Yan, an economist at Revelio Labs, believes there may be a “short-lived hype from the demand side” triggered by Mark Zuckerberg’s big VR and AR offensive. Companies from all industries may have tried to secure expert knowledge as quickly as possible.
Metaverse is not the same as VR and AR
Revelio Labs’ research method has a catch, of course, and should therefore not be taken as an overall statement about how the development of the metaverse is going: Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft don’t use the word metaverse at all, or use it less inflationary than Meta and other companies. As a result, it doesn’t show up in job ads.
Instead, the other big-tech companies are looking for virtual, augmented, or mixed reality professionals, as well as artificial intelligence, which are enabling technologies for the Metaverse. Moreover, despite the slump, the number of Metaverse jobs at the end of June 2022 still exceeds the number of jobs from January 2022 and from last year.
The study by Revelio Labs at least shows that the term “metaverse” has initially lost its meaning on the job market after gigantic hype recently. It also shows that companies are currently holding back on risky investment projects in particular.
Whether and how quickly the mood turns depends on the economic development in the following months, and probably also on whether Meta’s Cambria convinces and Apple actually launches its headset.
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