With the rise of AI, metaverse, and web3 technologies (such as VR, blockchain, and NFTs), it’s clear that the kinds of skills organizations need are evolving. The problem is a huge global skills shortage around future technologies.
For example, there are estimated to be only around 20,000 developers working in the web3 space – which is nothing compared to the volume of developers working in web2. Yet at the same time, there's a huge demand for web3 skills. Clearly, this skills shortage presents a barrier to organizations that want to harness web3 and the metaverse. Let’s explore how your organization can overcome the skills shortage and thrive in the future internet.
What sorts of tech skills are we talking about?
Skills needs will vary from company to company, but generally speaking, in-demand skills across metaverse and web3 include:
· 3D modelling and design
· Computer programming
· VR and/or AR development
· Blockchain/NFT/crypto engineering
· UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) design
· Project management
· Data analysis
· Ethics and social responsibility
A good starting point is to identify the skills your organization needs, depending on your plans for products/services and business processes. Then, you can identify where you have skills gaps in your organization. From there, you can create a plan to plug those gaps.
There are three main ways you can build and maintain future internet skills in your organization – and the best approach for you is likely to involve a blend of all three strategies.
1. Attracting new talent
Given the skills shortage, it’s clear that people with in-demand skills have their pick of the job market. And that means you’ll have to work on your employer's brand and organizational culture if you want to attract the best talent possible. Because when great candidates have their pick of positions, culture could be the deciding factor.
Good ways to enhance your employer brand and raise your profile among potential candidates include:
· Encouraging your existing employees to become brand advocates. After all, your employees all have their own networks, which could be rich sources of talent.
· Creating an employee referral program that incentivizes employees to refer candidates. This is a great recruitment strategy because it’s a cost-effective way to connect with amazing talent, and referred candidates generally stay longer with a company.
· Working with external influencers to get your company noticed by passive candidates. For example, when I work with a company on a project (it could be building a data strategy, training executives on AI possibilities, or whatever), I’ll often write articles about that company to share with my audience. For the company in question, this helps to spread the word about the cool projects they’re working on.
Of course, there are other ways of tapping into future internet talent, such as:
· Acquiring other businesses with the skills you need.
· Partnering with specialist firms who can deliver your future internet projects.
· Tapping into freelance workers. (Indeed, I expect most organizations will become more porous in the future internet, blending regular employees and gig workers to complete projects.)
· Establishing your business in an existing or emerging tech hub so you can tap into local tech talent.
· Creating your own innovation hub – a new part of the business that serves as a place for experimenting, research, innovation, and collaboration.
2. Upskilling your people
In a job market where competition for talent is stiff, it’s more important than ever to invest in upskilling your existing workforce. Talent development is different for each company, but the most obvious options include formal education and training programs, mentorship programs, and informal on-the-job learning opportunities.
The good news is, many education providers are offering courses in metaverse and web3 skills. And this spans the whole spectrum from huge online learning platforms like Udemy and Coursera, to niche, tech-specific providers like Tech Educators. Traditional universities are also beginning to branch out into metaverse and web3 education. Plus, some metaverse platforms themselves offer courses and education resources – Roblox being a good example with its Roblox Studio tutorials.
As a general rule, those employees who are already working in the web2 space are well placed to transition to web3 and metaverse skills. But don’t overlook employees who aren’t explicitly working in tech roles – because the future internet will create all sorts of interesting roles, including ethics advisors, safety managers, virtual event planners, and so on.
3. Boosting your talent retention
When you put so much effort into attracting new talent and upskilling your workforce, it stands to reason that you want people to stick around. Attractive pay and benefits are key components here, but so too is company culture and the employee experience.
To boost retention, you first need to understand why people leave their jobs. Poor benefits and salary are major drivers of employee turnover, as is a lack of development opportunities, recognition for a job well done, connection to a common purpose, and remote and flexible working options.
Flip these around, and you have amazing drivers of employee retention: remote working options and flexible working schedules that allow people to create a better work-life balance, a sense of connection, and that all-important feeling that the job they're doing matters; a system of rewards and recognition that ensures employees know their contribution is seen and valued; an attitude to talent development that allows people to grow and acquire interesting new skills across the employee lifecycle; and a structure of compensation and benefits that gives people a decent quality of life. These are a good starting point for any company that wants to boost retention.
But there are other strategies you should consider. One is to hire for culture fit and potential, not just skills – because when someone is a great fit for your organization, even if they aren’t a perfect skills match, they’re more likely to stay longer and be happier in the company. In other words, skills can be developed, but a cultural mismatch is hard to overcome.