Metaverse job numbers fall as hiring slows at Google and Facebook

The drop-off coincides with a broader pullback across the tech sector

While full-time metaverse jobs have become more scarce, the number of freelance gigs for metaverse-related services has more than quadrupled, according to freelance talent marketplace Fiverr International. EPA
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Jobs in the metaverse are declining, according to workplace researcher Revelio Labs.

New monthly job postings across all industries with “metaverse” in the title fell by 81 per cent between April and June, Revelio found, after surging in the months following Facebook’s rebranding last autumn.

The drop-off coincides with a broader retreat across the tech sector, which has prompted layoffs and hiring freezes, leaving workers from the US to India increasingly worried.

Meta Platforms had slowed hiring in May, but said it has picked up in recent months.

“After temporarily pausing hiring for certain roles at the company, we’re excited to resume it again for some of our highest priority areas,” said spokeswoman Andrea Beasley.

The company, which brought on more than 5,700 net new employees in the second quarter, is looking to add staff in areas such as machine learning, artificial intelligence and graphics.

Representatives for Google parent Alphabet and Apple, which are also developing immersive digital technologies, did not reply to a request to comment.

Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s big bet on virtual reality and other nascent, immersive technologies encouraged companies of all stripes to look for experts in those fields, which may have created “short-lived hype from the demand side”, Revelio Labs economist Jin Yan said.

Now, as employers recalibrate their hiring needs and labour budgets amid growing concerns of a recession, that hype might come face-to-face with a sobering reality.

Mr Zuckerberg said on Meta’s July 27 earnings call that he is “slowing the pace” of long-term investments because of the revenue shortfall.

Apple, an emerging rival of Meta’s in the virtual-reality space, said on July 28 that it would be “more deliberate” in its recruitment.

Alphabet, which has shied away from grand futuristic statements about the internet’s next iteration but is moving quickly in areas such as augmented reality, has also slowed hiring.

While full-time metaverse jobs have become more scarce, the number of freelance gigs for metaverse-related services like avatar development and 3D design has more than quadrupled, according to freelance talent marketplace Fiverr International.

Updated: August 20, 2022, 9:42 AM
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