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Inclusivity in the Metaverse: Encouraging or Limiting?

The metaverse could become a great way for employers to recruit. VR chat and avatars have the power to enable users to present in any way they wish, from the way they look to the way they speak.

At a first glance this seems mostly positive, allowing all types of people to present their experience and identity with as much authenticity and accuracy as possible. However, concerns are being raised as to whether conducting interviews within the metaverse could really mitigate issues of discrimination in the process.

Regan Gross, knowledge advisor at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), says that the allure of things like avatars is the freedom they provide to candidates to choose characteristics that are truly reflective of how they identify or wish to be seen. “Thereby, creating both greater representation and acceptance of diversity in the employment realm.”

Furthermore he states that “if we hold employers accountable in their metaverse interactions, and as they become more accustomed to differences in appearances, we could see an eventual reduction in discrimination and increase in diverse recruiting.”

At the same time, Gross also has concerns over whether the inherently ‘visual’ nature of avatars could mimic real-world issues of employers discriminating before a job candidate even has the opportunity to demonstrate their qualifications.

Paul Wells, the director of wellbeing services and culture change at Nabs, has also addressed the issue of accessibility. Say the recruitment process did occur through VR and the metaverse, it could easily prevent people from disadvantaged economic backgrounds.

“A main concern would be that metaverse platforms will not be accessible to all. Cost and factors around disability could be two of the barriers to people accessing the metaverse. So if you’re conducting interviews in the metaverse, you would still need to offer other accessible interview options – such as Zoom or in-person – so that people of all backgrounds could be considered for the role.

“With the metaverse itself, should somebody choose to be interviewed on this platform, it would be incumbent upon employers to ensure that the technology supported the needs of those using it.”

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