Generation Z wants to be a youtuber and/or influencer. Factors that determine this trend

María del Pilar Gutiérrez Arenas, Antonia Ramírez García, Rosa María Reifs Ruíz

Generation Z wants to be a youtuber and/or influencer. Factors that determine this trend

ICONO 14, Revista de comunicación y tecnologías emergentes, vol. 20, no. 2, 2022

Asociación científica ICONO 14

La generación Z desea ser youtuber y/o influencer. Factores que determinan esta tendencia

A Geração Z quer ser um youtuber e/ou influenciador. Factores que determinam esta tendência

María del Pilar Gutiérrez Arenas

Associate Professor. Department of Education. Area of Research Methods and Diagnosis in Education. Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology. University of Córdoba, Spain

Antonia Ramírez García

Principle Professor. Department of Education. Area of Research Methods and Diagnosis in Education. Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology. University of Córdoba, Spain

Rosa María Reifs Ruíz

Doctoral Student in the Doctoral Program of Social and Legal Sciences at the University of Cordoba, Spain

Received: 31/march /2022

Revised: 02/may /2022

Accepted: 30/september /2022

Published: 08/december /2022

Abstract: Social media represent a new lifestyle for young people in all areas (personal, social, professional, etc.). YouTubers and/or influencers are the new idols of their generation; they have become the new references that condition vocational behaviour, either as role models or through the influence they exert in decision-making and in the process of building their life project.

In order to identify which variables may be intervening in the desire to dedicate oneself to these emerging professions, a quantitative study was carried out with a sample of 803 Andalusian Secondary Education students, using a questionnaire as the data collection instrument. Results obtained suggest that the variables (gender, age, educational level, and desire to be a youtuber/influencer) are significantly related to the analysed items of the scale of conception of the youtuber/influencer profession. In conclusion, it can be said that it is essential to be aware of this type of influence in order to be able to carry out appropriate educational and guidance work, both in the school and family environment, as well as an opportunity to work with them to acquire a critical sense of the information consumed.

Keywords: Social networks; youtuber; influencer; vocational choice; adolescence; emerging profession.

Resumen: Las redes sociales representan un nuevo estilo de vida para los más jóvenes en todos los ámbitos (personal, social, profesional, etc.). Los youtubers y/o influencers son los nuevos ídolos de su generación, estos se han convertido en los nuevos referentes que condicionan la conducta vocacional, bien como modelos a seguir, bien por la influencia que ejercen en la toma de decisiones y en el proceso de construcción de su proyecto de vida.

Para identificar qué variables pueden estar interviniendo en el deseo de querer dedicarse a estas profesiones emergentes, se ha llevado a cabo un estudio cuantitativo, con una muestra de 803 estudiantes andaluces de Educación Secundaria y donde se ha utilizado el cuestionario como instrumento de recogida de datos. Los resultados obtenidos sugieren que las variables (sexo, edad, nivel educativo, y deseo de ser youtuber.influencer) están relacionadas de manera significativa con los ítems analizados de la escala de concepción de la profesión de youtuber.influencer. En conclusión, se puede decir que es fundamental conocer este tipo de influencias para poder llevar a cabo una adecuada labor educativa y de orientación, tanto en el ámbito escolar como familiar, así como una oportunidad para trabajar con ellos la adquisición de un sentido crítico de la información consumida.

Palabras clave: Redes Sociales; youtuber; influencer; elección vocacional; adolescencia; profesión emergente.

Resumo: As redes sociais representam um novo estilo de vida para os jovens em todas as áreas (pessoal, social, profissional, etc.). YouTubers e/ou influenciadores são os novos ídolos da sua geração; tornaram-se as novas referências que condicionam o comportamento profissional, quer como modelos, quer através da influência que exercem na tomada de decisões e no processo de construção do seu projecto de vida.

A fim de identificar que variáveis podem estar a intervir no desejo de se dedicar a estas profissões emergentes, foi realizado um estudo quantitativo com uma amostra de 803 estudantes do ensino secundário andaluz, utilizando um questionário como instrumento de recolha de dados. Os resultados obtidos sugerem que as variáveis (sexo, idade, nível educacional, e desejo de ser um youtuber/influenciador) estão significativamente relacionadas com os itens analisados da escala de concepção da profissão youtuber/influenciador. Em conclusão, pode dizer-se que é essencial estar consciente deste tipo de influência para poder realizar um trabalho educativo e de orientação adequado, tanto no ambiente escolar como familiar, assim como uma oportunidade de trabalhar com eles para adquirir um sentido crítico da informação consumida.

Palavras-chave: Redes sociais; youtuber; influenciador; escolha vocacional; adolescência; profissão emergente.

1. Introduction

In the era of globalisation, social networks constitute a new ecosystem that shapes the way new generations relate to each other. In the beginning, these networks sought interaction between different users and made it possible to transfer information online. However, these types of platforms have evolved in such a way that today they have become “an instrument for dissemination, promotion, modification of social behaviours, definition of identities, grouping and social movement” (Vizcaíno-Verdú et al., 2019, p.217). It has also become a way to learn, model personality and even earn a living (Bonaga and Turiel, 2016). YouTube is an example of a platform that has created an innovative business model (Larrañaga and Ruiz, 2009) based on the monetisation of the creators’ content.

Thus, a new professional model linked to social networks is configured, which is postulated as an easy and attractive way for those young people who are unable to find a place to develop professionally. In addition to this, are the high rates of youth unemployment, which in Spain were close to 40% in 2021, between the ages of 16 and 24 (Ministry of Labour and Social Economy, 2021).

1.1. Social media and transmedia celebrities

Social networks have become an essential tool, especially for young people (Eurostat, 2020). The data provided by ‘We are social and Hootsuite’ (2021) are convincing: 4.2 billion people use social networks, i.e. more than half of the world’s population, with a year-on-year increase of 13.2% over the previous year (490 million new users), probably as a result of the pandemic.

Looking at each social network independently, the Digital 2021 Report (We are social and Hootsuite, 2021) indicates that, although currently in decline, Facebook still leads the ranking with 2.74 billion users, followed by YouTube (2.291 billion), WhatsApp (2 billion), Instagram (1.221 billion), Tik Tok (689 million) and Twitter (353 million).

On its behalf, the Social Networking Study (IAB Spain, 2021) indicates that the Spanish population mainly uses WhatsApp, followed by Facebook (in decline), YouTube (in decline), Instagram and Twitter. It also indicates that these networks are used for entertainment (81%), interaction (72%) and information (66%) and highlights that 92% of users follow accounts of family, friends and acquaintances, while 48% follow brands or influencers. In the case of the population aged between16 and 24 years old, the percentage of following influencer accounts rises to 74%, although it has decreased slightly compared to the previous year. At the same time, according to Cortesi and Gasser (2015), young people do not only stick to a single social network, but diversify their digital activities on various platforms, creating their space of coexistence, their own discourses and content (Vázquez-Herrero et al., 2019).

Social networks allow any user to become a content creator and disseminator, overcoming the perspective of a passive consumer of digital content or prosumer (McLuhan and Nevitt, 1972; Toffler, 1980; Jenkins, 2009; Jordán et al., 2017). In the case of YouTube, this creation makes it possible for people to become a youtuber, a professional of the medium (Van-Dijk, 2016; Berzosa, 2017). However, not all people who create content and upload it to the platform can be called youtubers. According to Bonaga and Turiel, it is considered as such to:

Any individual who, on a regular and constant basis, uploads content to the platform and manages to convert the number of views of a given file into monetary compensation (...). In this way, only people who have managed to make YouTube not just a hobby, but their profession, would have the credit of “creator”. And the most relevant thing about successful youtubers, what we have called “creators”, is their quality of becoming influencers (2016, pp. 120-121).

Furthermore, it implies having created a social movement around the channel, which would entail influencing followers and subscribers (Gewerc and Alonso-Ferreiro, 2019), becoming opinion leaders among them (Rego-Rey and Romero-Rodríguez, 2016) and creating a fandom of their own (Lacasa, 2020).

At the same time, influencers, in the media ecosystem have also emerged strongly, considered by De Veirman et al. (2016, p.1) as “people who build a large network of followers and are considered as trusted trendsetters”, either under the protection of a social network, or because their action in a network has transcended to another, becoming the so-called by Redmond (2014) transmedia celebrities, who have a defined profile characterised by:

  • Being normal people who have become famous by posting videos.

  • Transform a hobby into a new and lucrative profession.

  • Develop their creativity and authenticity, being “themselves”.

  • Express directly what they like, feel and think through their videos.

  • Create a distinctive communicative and aesthetic style to build your own audience: colloquial language; use of opening and closing expressions; involving the audience with inclusive formulas; expressions of gratitude; creating content based on tips or comments on daily life, video games; own gestures and body movements, etc.

  • Locate your workstation in the youtuber’s own room, decorated following a youthful aesthetic, which invites intimacy with followers. In the case of Instagram, the context is extended to the home and other spaces.

  • Simultaneously be present in different social networks.

  • Take advantage of the YouTube and/or Instagram interface to get feedback from their followers through likes and/or comments that they take into account.

  • Achieve “easy” social success.

  • Achieve repercussion in other traditional media that have amplified the youtuber and influencer phenomenon.

  • Show sympathy, charisma, empathy, originality, sense of humour, etc. (Tolbert y Drogos, 2019; Korres y Elexpuru-Albizuri, 2022).

  • No specific training.

According to Ardèvol and Márquez:

the fact that most of the most popular youtubers have no specific training and that their success story is based on perseverance and illusion, generates the impression that anyone can become a youtuber just by putting a little imagination and being oneself (2017, p. 79).

Surveys from Adecco (2016 to 2021) have demonstrated, in which show a progressive increase in the desire of many minors who want to be a youtuber (from 2.4% to 5.9%) and research such as that carried out by Tur-Viñes et al. (2019) and Castelló-Martínez and Tur-Viñes (2020), who state that being a youtuber has been configured as one of the preferred professions for Spanish children, a trend that will increase in the coming years (Bermúdez, 2020; Gutiérrez-Arenas and Ramírez-García, 2022; Ramírez-García, et al., 2022).

Youtubers and influencers have become the “new referents or role models for a whole generation of young people” (Ardèvol and Márquez, 2017, p.73), media referents (Tolbert and Drogos, 2019), whose fame reaches an international context and who turn schoolchildren into loyal followers (Renés et al.., 2020) through “mechanisms of identification and admiration” (Aran-Ramspott et al., 2018, p. 73) and from a kind of "informal mentoring" (Regueira et al., 2020, p.33) that allow mediating the construction of the person (Foucault, 1994). This mediation occurs when the celebrity becomes an example of behaviour and a training figure through the transmission of a distinctive discourse.

In this sense, Pérez-Torres et al. (2018) state that, in the construction of identity, being a process that occurs during several phases throughout life, youtubers have a fundamental role since, through their videos and publications, they provide guidance on aspects such as sexuality, gender identity and/or vocational choice.

1.2. Career Choice

At the beginning of this article, reference was made to the high rates of youth unemployment in Spain and the difficulties of access to the labour market. Along with these circumstances, there is also evidence of a devaluation of regulated studies as a traditional form of access to specialised jobs (Llorente-Heras, 2020) and an early school dropout rate of 13.3% (Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, 2021), leading to a desire among young people to seek new sources of employment and ways of accessing the labour market.

The preview of the forthcoming publication of the Eurofound report (2021) in the European context shows that digitalisation will be key to new job opportunities. Likewise, the XVI Report of the consulting firm Spring Professional (2021) points out that companies continue to demand technological profiles typical of 15 years ago, but they are also looking for specialisation in other newer fields, such as social networks. Not surprisingly, Davidson (2012) already announced that almost two thirds of elementary school students will work in jobs and careers which are not yet invented. It is estimated that the jobs of the future will require professionals with complex problem-solving skills, critical thinking and emotional intelligence. These professions, in turn, will be immersed in an ever-growing digital transformation environment.

If the labour market is a complicated world, and so is decision making in reference to their professional future, as well as the creation of a professional identity among young people. In this sense, Rodríguez et al. (2017) expressed that the choice of a career is a highly complex process, basically because it is usually made at an early age.

According to Srebalus (1982), in the childhood stage, vocational interests are based on the external aspect of professions, on activities related to the achievement of ideals, as well as on heroic situations that generate satisfaction. For this reason, it is not surprising that children also want to be youtubers and/or influencers, due to the admiration they generate among their followers (García-Jiménez et al., 2016).

According to the theory of career choice (Ginzberg, 1951), the decision-making process can be structured in different stages: 1) Fantasy choices (up to 11 years of age); 2) Tentative choices (between 11 and 17 years of age); 3) Real choices (after 17 years of age). Minors in the Compulsory Secondary Education stage and the beginning of the Baccalaureate and/or Formative Cycles would be located in the second period mentioned, characterised by the first decisions regarding their academic, professional and labour future (Álvarez- Justel, 2017; Duche-Pérez et al. 2020) and by the influence of impulses and needs (Macías-González et al., 2019).

Three dimensions of great significance have been distinguished in the decision-making process: emotional, cognitive and social (Gomes-Cordeiro, 2016; Nelson et al., 2018; Álvarez-Justel, 2019; Song et al., 2018; Álvarez-Justel and Ruiz-Bueno, 2021).

In the emotional domain, Jin et al. (2014) highlighted that social networks provide informational and emotional support to the person in the construction of his or her professional identity. On the other hand, Kasperiuniene and Zydziunaite (2019) conclude that there is a tendency to choose a certain profession more linked to a social construction than to pre-existing cognitive structures in the person. Moreover, they have revealed that social networks are very powerful tools for the development of the professional identity construction process. In this sense, it has been demonstrated that different strategies involved in this process emerge, depending on the roles that people adopt in social networks and the level of consumption of these (Dimitrova and Wellman, 2015; Hong et al., 2017).

For Pedraza and Villarraga (2019), the reasons given by minors to engage in this type of emerging professions (youtubers and/or, influencers) are the social recognition it produces (events, interviews, travel) and the search for social acceptance with the contents they could generate which, at the same time, “have the ability to change the initial conceptions of adolescents in front of a vocational or professional area and thus influence decision-making in this regard” (p.21).

On their behalf, Fernández-de-Arroyabe-Olaortua et al. (2018) also state that youtubers are part of the daily life of the youngest and influence the construction of their identity, values and attitudes.

In this regard, Aznar-Díaz et al. (2019) express that the influencers have the ability to change attitudes, with a socio-educational implication based on the direct influence on the thinking and behaviour of minors, who are at a key stage of their development. They define themselves as individuals, make decisions (academic, gender, friendships, etc.) that will determine their lives and, as Pedraza and Villarraga (2019) express, they begin to question their vocational identity, assessing their strengths, interests, etc. (Rodríguez-Esquivel & Gallardo-Córdova, 2020).

The result will be a certain vocational behaviour, which will be influenced by individual factors such as gender (Allen and Waterman, 2019; Vázquez-Romero and Blanco-Blanco, 2019) or academic year (Lozano and Repeto, 2007; Álvarez-Justel, 2019), and sociocultural factors such as the educational level of the family (Fernández-García et al., 2016; Abdinoor and Ibrahim, 2019), as well as the opportunity factor (Rodríguez-Esquivel and Gallardo-Córdova, 2020), so important in the media universe.

Therefore, youtubers and influencers would be part of these conditioning factors of vocational behaviour, either as role models, or because of the influence they exert on the decision-making of minors and in the process of building their life project.

Therefore, we believe that it is necessary to study what factors are determining the so-called generation Z (born between the end of 1990 and the beginning of 2000) to opt for these emerging professions and what opinion they have about them. Based on these objectives, the following hypotheses were proposed:

H1. The desire of teenagers to want to engage in the profession of youtubers and/or influencers is influenced by gender, age and educational level.

H2. Factors such as gender, age, educational level and the desire to be a youtuber and/or influencer influence the perception of these professions.

2. Methodology

2.1. Design

The quantitative methodology is used, with a descriptive and non-experimental design. There is no manipulation of the variables; it is an intra-group design, the objective of which is to describe the relationships between the proposed variables.

2.2. Population and Sample

The sampling carried out was non-probabilistic and by convenience. The sample consisted of 803 adolescents between 11 and 19 years of age of both sexes, from public secondary schools in Andalusia. The descriptive variables of the sample are shown in Table 1. The percentage of adolescents who would like to dedicate themselves to these emerging professions is 46.9%. The distribution of the sample according to sex is as follows: 51.7% are female, 46.9% are male and 1.4% declare themselves as belonging to another sexual option. Most of the students are between 14 and 15 years of age (42.4%), followed by the 12 and 13 age group (35%).

In terms of educational level, the highest percentage is found among students in the 2nd and 4th years of Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO).

Table 1
Descriptive variables of the sample
Descriptive variables of the sample

B: Bachillerato; FP: Vocational Training

Source: Own Elaboration

2.3. Variables and Instruments

The technique used in the research was the survey and the instrument used in the data collection was the questionnaire, which included variables such as gender, age, educational level, desire to be a youtuber and/or influencer and a scale of conception of the profession of youtuber and influencer (with values between 0=totally disagree and 4=totally agree).

Regarding the reliability of the scale, a Cronbach’s Alpha of .762 was obtained, indicating that the scale presents good internal consistency (González-Alonso and Pazmiño-Santacruz, 2015).

The questionnaire was sent in paper and digital format to the centres participating in the research projects, together with an informed consent form to be sent to the families. The data obtained were processed with the SPSS v.25 statistical program and the level of statistical validity was set at p < .05. The non-normality of the responses made it advisable to use non-parametric tests in the data analysis.

3. Results

When adolescents were asked about their perception of the professions of youtubers and/or influencers, they stated that they do not think it is a profession that requires few skills to perform (x ̅=1.83), that they can become famous (x ̅=1.87) and that money can be easily earned (x ̅=1.98). In contrast, adolescents are more in agreement in considering them fun professions (x ̅=3.01). If the standard deviation is analysed, it can be seen that there is some heterogeneity of response in the totality of the items, with the deviation ranging between .918 and 1.232 (Table 2).

Table 2
Scale descriptive on the conception of the profession of Youtuber, instagrammer/influencer
Scale descriptive on the conception of the profession of Youtuber, instagrammer/influencer

Source: Own Elaboration

The non-parametric tests applied were U-Mann-Whitney and Kruskal-Wallis (for the contrast of means) according to each case. In this regard, taking into account the grouping variable “gender”, significant differences were found with respect to the opinion of becoming famous, needing little knowledge and few skills, requiring little investment, creating trends and obtaining gifts from brands (Table 3).

Table 3
Kruskal-Wallis scale test (variable sex grouping)
Kruskal-Wallis scale test (variable sex grouping)

Source: Own Elaboration

If we analyse the percentages obtained between sex and scale in the variables that were significant, we obtain the results shown in Table 4. Women think to a greater extent than men that the characteristics that most define the professions of youtuber and/or influencer are: the possibility of becoming famous, the lack of knowledge and skills, the low investment needed to dedicate oneself to it, the creation of trends and obtaining gifts from the brands they sponsor.

Table 4
Percentages gender*scale
Percentages gender*scale

Source: Own Elaboration

In relation to the age variable, statistically significant differences were also found in the perception of adolescents that it is a fun profession and that it makes it possible to become famous (Table 5).

Table 5
Kruskal-Wallis scale test (age variable grouping)
Kruskal-Wallis scale test (age variable grouping)

Source: Own Elaboration

If we look at the results in Table 6, we can see that the older they get, the more their perception of the profession of youtuber and/or influencer changes, since the younger they are, the more fun they consider it to be. On the other hand, 18-year-old boys and girls are the ones who least agree with the statement that they can become famous, while 16-year-old adolescents are the on the contrary.

Table 6
Percentages age*scale
Percentages age*scale

Source: Own Elaboration

If we look at the “educational level” variable, there are significant differences in the perception that it is easy to earn money, that it is a fun profession and that you can become famous in it (Table 7).

Table 7
Kruskal-Wallis scale test (variable education level grouping)
Kruskal-Wallis scale test (variable education level grouping)

Source: Own Elaboration

Adolescents in high school are those who most agree that these are fun professions in which you can earn money and become famous. The same is true for those who are in the first year of ESO (Table 8).

Table 8
Porcentajes nivel educativo*escala
Porcentajes nivel educativo*escala

B: Bachillerato; FP: Formación Profesional

Source: Own Elaboration

When considering the variable “desire to be a youtuber and/or influencer” and the possible relationship with the perceptions of adolescents about these professions, significant differences have been seen in terms of the fact that money can be earned easily, little academic studies are required, it is a fun profession, it makes it possible to become famous, create trends and obtain gifts from brands (table 9).

Table 9
Kruskal-Wallis scale test (variable wanting to be a youtuber and/or influencer grouping)
Kruskal-Wallis scale test (variable wanting to be a youtuber and/or influencer grouping)

Source: Own Elaboration

Teenagers who want to be youtubers and/or influencers are mostly of the opinion that these are professions in which they can earn money easily, are fun, make it possible to achieve fame, create trends and obtain gifts from the brands they advertise. On the other hand, they do not think that little academic study is required (Table 10).

Table 10
Percentages wanting to be a youtuber and/or influencer*scale
Percentages wanting to be a youtuber and/or influencer*scale

Source: Own Elaboration

Ultimately, the desire to become a youtuber and/or influencer is influenced by the variables gender, age and educational level has been tested. In this sense, it can be affirmed that age is not a variable that influences the desire to dedicate oneself to these emerging professions. However, this is not the case with the sex and educational level of the adolescents (Table 11).

Table 11
Kruskal-Wallis independent variables test *wanting to be a youtuber and/or influencer
Kruskal-Wallis independent variables test *wanting to be a youtuber and/or influencer

Source: Own Elaboration

Boys would like to be a youtuber and/or influencer to a greater extent than girls, with a 52.3%, instead of a 42.7%. On the other hand, the adolescents who checked the non-binary gender option would also not like to work in this field in 27.3% of the cases.

In terms of educational level, adolescents enrolled in the first two years of ESO are those who would most like to dedicate themselves to these professions, but this is not the case for the rest of the academic levels (Table 12).

Table 12
Percentages wanting to be a youtuber and/or influencer*education level
Percentages wanting to be a youtuber and/or influencer*education level

Source: Own Elaboration

4. Discussion and conclusions

The results of this study show that 46.9% of teenagers are attracted to the professions of youtuber and/or influencer, so we can affirm that this is an attractive field of work (Tur-Viñes et al., 2019; Castelló-Martínez and Tur-Viñes, 2020). This percentage is higher than that provided by the Adecco surveys (2016 to 2021), which show a figure of 5.9% and very similar to the trend already recommended by Bermúdez (2020) and the study by Gutiérrez-Arenas and Ramírez-García (2022) where 60.2% of students in the fifth and sixth years of primary education want to be a youtuber and/or influencer.

Taking into account the hypotheses put forward, it can be indicated that factors such as sex and educational level determine whether adolescents consider these emerging professions in their life project and want to dedicate themselves to them (H1). Boys/girls in the first years of ESO are the ones who would most like to dedicate themselves to these professions, perhaps because of their idealisation. As expressed by Srebalus (1982), in the infantile stage, vocational interests are based on the external aspect of the professions and on activities related to the achievement of ideals. These ideals can be concentrated in the admiration that minors feel about the figure of the youtuber and/or influencer (García-Jiménez et al., 2016) and this desire can be a first attempt in the construction of the professional identity according to the phases established by the theory of career choice (Ginzberg, 1951).

Adolescents in high school or vocational training are closer to a stage of real choice for their academic future and/or profession than those in the first years of ESO (Álvarez-Justel, 2017; Duche-Pérez et al., 2020), which is why they do not wish to dedicate themselves to these professions as much.

On the other hand, boys would like to dedicate themselves to these professions to a greater extent than girls. These results would be in line with those published in the Adecco surveys (2016-2021), although this is not the case in the primary education stage (Gutiérrez-Arenas and Ramírez-García, 2022). This may be indicative of the fact that age reverses this trend, with girls being the first to think about entering these professions and boys the second.

In this sense, it would be appropriate to delve into what other factors could be involved in this trend, for example, the type of content and subject matter consumed in social networks or the preponderance of male referents in the networks to the detriment of women, as stated by Regueira et al., (2020, p.38), whose research “reveals the underrepresentation of female figures” in the YouTube channel.

It would also be interesting to expand research on a possible influence of students’ academic performance, as well as the emotional, cognitive and social dimensions on this desire to want to be a youtuber and/or influencer, as these condition the decision-making process in vocational choice (Gomes-Cordeiro, 2016; Nelson et al., 2018; Álvarez-Justel, 2019; Song et al., 2018; Álvarez-Justel and Ruiz-Bueno, 2021), as well as personality traits (Big Five).

Regarding the second hypothesis (H2), the factors analysed - gender, age, educational level and the desire to be a youtuber and/or influencer - have been shown to influence the perception that adolescents show about these professions, to which they attribute in order of importance: fun, possibility of earning money, being famous and not requiring many skills, as already stated by Redmond (2014) and Ardèvol and Márquez (2017) when defining a characteristic profile of transmedia celebrities.

Girls score higher than boys on five items on the scale: the possibility of achieving fame, the need for little knowledge and skills, the low financial investment required to carry out the profession, the creation of trends and the obtaining of gifts from sponsoring brands.

Likewise, age influences aspects such as the fact that these are fun professions and that they make it easy to achieve fame, with younger boys and girls being those who agree more with this opinion. This fact further reinforces the idea that age is a conditioning factor in an adolescent’s view of these emerging professions, in accordance with the phases established by Ginzberg (1951) in the framework of the theory of degree choice.

In relation to educational level, the same factors analysed for age are repeated and include the perception of earning money easily, with high school students being more inclined towards these options. Finally, the desire to want to be a youtuber and/or influencer has also influenced the conception of this type of profession. Thus, earning money easily, requiring little academic studies, being something fun, becoming famous, creating trends and obtaining gifts from brands are the aspects most valued by adolescents who would like to dedicate themselves to these professions.

It could be interesting, as a future line of research, to carry out a qualitative study to investigate in greater depth each of the aspects analysed, once they have been identified.

Finally, the need to implement vocational and professional guidance programs in schools from an early age is indicated, so that children can learn what kind of influences they are receiving when interacting in social networks and respond to them with a critical sense. The family environment should not remain oblivious to this fact and thus reinforce the educational work of schools.

Authors' contributions

Mª Pilar Gutiérrez Arenas: Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Resources, Validation, Visualisation, Software, Writing- original draft and Writing- review & editing. Antonia Ramírez-García: Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Resources, Supervision, Software, Writing- original draft and Writing- review & editing. Rosa María Reifs-Ruiz: Investigation, Methodology, Resources, Software, Visualisation, Writing- original draft and Writing- review & editing. All authors have read and accepted the published version of the manuscript. Conflicts of interest: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Sources of funding

R&D project “Youtubers and Instagrammers: media competition in emerging prosumers” (RTI2018-093303-B-I00). Funded by the State Research Agency of the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

R&D Project “Instagramers and Youtubers for the transmedia empowerment of Andalusian citizenship.” The media competence of the instatubers (P18-RT-756). Funded by the Consejería de Transformación Económica, Industria, Conocimiento y Universidades (Junta de Andalucía).

Project PIV-041/20. Incidence factors in the decision making of adolescents about their professional future: Why do they want to be Youtubers, Instagrammers or Influencers? Funded by the Consejería de Educación y Deporte (Junta de Andalucía).


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Additional information

Translation to English : Rafael Melquiades Guerra Santana

To cite this article : Gutiérrez Arenas, María del Pilar; Ramírez García, Antonia, & Reifs Ruíz, Rosa María. (2022). Generation Z wants to be a youtuber and/or influencer. Factors determining this trend. ICONO 14. Scientific Journal of Communication and Emerging Technologies, 20(2).

Cómo citar
ISO 690-2
ICONO 14, Revista de comunicación y tecnologías emergentes

ISSN: 1697-8293

Vol. 20

Num. 2

Año. 2022

Generation Z wants to be a youtuber and/or influencer. Factors that determine this trend

María del Pilar Gutiérrez Arenas 1, Antonia Ramírez García 2, Rosa María Reifs Ruíz 3