Even the metaverse lacks women in leadership roles

Good Morning,

The metaverse is expected to transform the future of work, the customer experience, and even everyday life. But when it comes to leadership, it turns out that the metaverse is suffering from the same gender parity issues that have long plagued the business world.

This is similar to the gap at Fortune 500 companies and startups, where just 17% of venture capital dollars go to women-led companies, according to a McKinsey report released on Monday.

“We’ve seen a deficit, not in terms of women participating in the metaverse, but in having leadership roles that shape what that will look like over the next 5 to 10 years,” Lareina Yee, McKinsey senior partner in the Bay Area office, and a co -author of the report, told me.

Regarding organizations that are members of the Open Metaverse Alliance for Web3 and Metaverse Standards Forum, responsible for shaping the operational standards for the metaverse, 8% and 9%, respectively, are led by female CEOs. That’s similar to the roughly 9% of Fortune 500 companies that are currently led by women, says Yee.

Over the past five years, male-led metaversal companies have received a larger share of total business funding than female-led metaversal companies – 90% versus 10%. Men received $107 billion in funding, compared to women who received $5 billion. The findings are based on data from 4,186 founders.

Ironically, the research also found that women active in the metaverse are more likely to be energy users than men – 35% compared to 29%, says Yee. The lack of female leadership in the metaverse “surprised me because I was hopeful that this could be one of the most parity technologies,” she says.

You must have a ‘clear case for value creation’ to join the metaverse

The metaverse has many different formats for creating immersive experiences, be it augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D graphics, to name a few, says Yee. Companies are using the metaverse for recruiting, onboarding and building a sense of community, she says. In May, I met with Accenture executives on the Nth floor, the company’s corporate metaverse for onboarding, using an avatar I created.

For customers, Ikea uses 3D visualization and computer-generated objects or CGI to help plan furniture layouts in your home, explains Yee. Another example: “There are fashion brands that will show you their fashion in the metaverse, and then you can buy it in the store.”

If there’s a “clear case for value creation” for a company to enter the metaverse, it “absolutely” should, says Yee. “You need to have a pretty clear sense of what you’re trying to achieve using this, rather than just using it because it’s cool or different or new,” she says. CFOs will then have the challenge of trying to figure out how much money to allocate to building metaverse projects.

The metaverse has the potential to generate up to $5 trillion in value by 2030, according to a previous McKinsey report. And Wall Street thinks the metaverse could be worth trillions, too.

‘Nobody Graduates from High School with a Metaverse Degree’

“Technology is at the forefront of creating new jobs with higher wage growth,” says Yee. “And we’ve seen historically in the United States that women are excluded from roles in technology. In this next round of metaverse innovation, we would like to see something that more closely resembles population parity.” With the new crop of tech jobs the metaverse will bring, corporations can change their current leadership trajectory, she says.

“No one graduates from high school with a metaverse degree,” says Yee. There is no such thing as a corporate badge that says, “You are an expert in the metaverse,” she says. “It creates the freedom to attract people from different backgrounds,” says Yee. “So what are we doing to expand recruiting?” And looking ahead, if you recruit women into roles that are a step or two below leadership, you’re building a pipeline of potential leaders, “because a big part of the metaverse is learning on the job,” she says.

The most optimistic part — the metaverse is moving fast amid workforce agility, says Yee. “So we’re hoping that, as it develops rapidly, we’ll also be able to reverse the statistics that we report,” she says.

See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada
[email protected]

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This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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