It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in the technology industry. Globally, women account for 47.7% of the global workforce. And yet, consider these tech industry stats:
- Women currently hold only 26.7% of tech-related jobs
- Over the last two years, total representation of women in big tech jobs decreased by 2.1%; smaller tech companies had an even more significant decline at 5.1%
- The funnel isn’t improving: The percentage of women pursuing STEM in higher education is in decline, and women achieve just 18% of new computer science degrees.
- The glass ceiling is firmly in place as well; women hold only 10.9% of CEO or senior leadership roles; at the largest tech firms only 5% of CEOs are women
The Metaverse Opportunity
With the Metaverse capable of generating up to $5 trillion in value by 2030, it is now simply too big for companies to ignore. Its scope means new opportunities for all, but, according to a fascinating McKinsey report regarding the Metaverse and women in leadership, women are not included enough.
This quote particularly stuck with me: “The reality is that women are spending more time in the protometaverse than men are and, according to our data, are more likely to spearhead and implement metaverse initiatives. However, just as in the tech sector as a whole, women represent a minority in the metaverse economy. Both the entrepreneurial capital and the CEO roles in the metaverse space remain disproportionately reserved for men.”
Reversing the Gap
And so, I would like to offer up how we might utilize the Metaverse to reverse the gender gap in technology. Here are just a few of my ideas:
- Use the tools to create a level playing field. We have long talked about how gender-blind recruiting, hiring, and promotion processes could help propel women’s careers by eliminating both conscious and unconscious biases from the process. The Metaverse can really help innovate here. We can establish an interview platform where candidates enter the process without bias and proceed in a virtual world that allows them to select a gender-neutral avatar. The avatar can then participate in the recruiting and interview process and ensure that talents and skills are front and center and that gender bias never enters the picture.
- Allow women to take their fair share of the new space. Since women were often late to the game, we weren’t offered the ability to take up space in the industry at events, educational institutes, and communities in the space. The Metaverse can change this by allowing women to create and take up more space in new platforms and learning environments. Firms should be actively recruiting women to participate in and design their Metaverse. By doing this early, they can eliminate some of the inherent biases that occur when a predominantly male team creates a space.
- Bring art, music, and creativity in the community to life. The Metaverse extends far beyond the speeds and feeds inherent in the tech industry. It allows for the creation of truly unique and creatively designed worlds that can feature music, art, or instill a sense of community sharing. These are industries where women have long excelled and so by engaging subject matter experts in the arts, we can in fact attract more women to the industry.
- Virtual can go main stage. Women often prefer remote work and the Metaverse offers an opportunity to have an inclusive remote work experience. A recent LinkedIn survey found that women are 26% more likely than men to apply to work remotely. By developing Metaverse work environments, women can still fully participate in the work while also preserving their need and desire to work remotely. This should help level the field for women to accept roles that require more “face time” with their teams.
How else can the Metaverse help women? The list is endless: We can have gender-neutral investor forums, communities dedicated to helping women gain tech skills, and an unlimited number of new businesses run by women in the Metaverse, and more. The only limitation is all of us: We must support women winning in this space in numbers equal to those of our male counterparts. Let’s all dedicate ourselves to ensuring the Metaverse is the place that finally delivers for women in our industry. Let me know your thoughts by DMing me on LinkedIn.