Firms build up skills as they bank on metaverse despite dicey play

With the metaverse touted as the next iteration of the internet, companies recognise the need to build their workforce competencies to augment business opportunities, despite uncertainties over implementation.

This is according to NTUC LearningHub’s Industry Insights Report 2023 on Metaverse, which is based on a survey of 200 business leaders, and interviews with industry practitioners and experts.

Findings show that while seven in 10 (68%)  business leaders say that it is important for their company to adopt metaverse to remain competitive, only 6% have adopted the metaverse and 52% are unsure or do not foresee adopting metaverse-related technology.

To embrace metaverse, half (51%) of business leaders reveal that their company needs to gain the relevant knowledge and expertise, nine in 10 (89%) are open to sending their employees for skills training-related to the metaverse.

Despite the key benefits business leaders resonate with such as finding new ways to engage customers (50%), enhancing customer service (44%), and finding new business opportunities (43%), over a third (36%) of them voice that they are not confident of their company’s readiness for a future in the metaverse. 

Privacy and security concerns (52%), high technology costs (51%), and uncertainty about whether metaverse will bear return on investments (47%), are the top concerns among business leaders in adopting the metaverse.

Still, three in five (62%) business leaders are confident in their workforce’s ability to adapt to the metaverse. 

More than half (54%) of business leaders say metaverse-related skills are required across different roles and departments in their organisation, with cloud computing (53%), data analytics and artificial intelligence (51%), and Internet of Things (43%), emerging as the top metaverse-related technologies business leaders are keen to adopt in the next two years.

As business leaders prepare their employees for the adoption of metaverse, they prefer to enrol their employees in courses under government supported training institutions (53%), followed by on-the-job training (51%), and sponsorship via micro-credentials or industry certifications (44%).

“The metaverse yields a variety of economic benefits for companies, and from the survey, it is encouraging to know that business leaders are looking forward to not just riding on this wave, but investing in the next revolution through skills training,” said Tay Ee Learn, chief sector skills officer at NTUC LearningHub.

“Developing an existing pool of employees with the relevant skills will help businesses effectively utilise the capabilities of the metaverse,” said Tay.

He added that With high technology cost being one of the top barriers to metaverse adoption, companies should tap on fundings available for training, such as those provided by training providers like NTUC LearningHub, which was recently approved by SkillsFuture Singapore as a Continuing Education and Training Centre for the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. 

“As a start for metaverse to gain wider awareness, companies can also consider introducing it to their employees by using it as a platform to convene, socialise, and work, before embarking on more serious work-related usage,” he said.