What did you want to be when you grew up? It’s probably not the same as the career choice that today’s young people say they are targeting. The ideal career for kids right now might not even be recognizable to previous generations.
According to a recent study which was conducted with 2,000 parents having at least one child aged between 11 and 16, being a social media personality is the most sought-after career path for their kids. Social media influencer (17 per cent) and YouTuber (14 per cent) combined make up the goal of over 30 per cent of young people.
YouTube stars create their own YouTube channels, vlog (video blog) regularly and build up subscribers, followers, and viewers. When their channel gains enough traffic, they can make advertising revenue, as well as free products and services for review purposes, and legions of fans. The most successful of them have actually become millionaires through their video sharing. (See: How to become a YouTube millionaire.)
Similarly, Social Media Influencers are people who have built a reputation and a following for their knowledge and/or entertaining content on a particular subject. This can include YouTube videos, but also spans other platforms such as Instagram and Twitter.
(Parenting or “mommy blogs,” were an early example of people gaining fame and revenue as influencers.) Travel and Fashion Instagram influencers create photo journals rather than text. Brands sponsor influencers for using or mentioning their products to their followings. While this is still marketing, it comes across as a more authentic form of advertising than an outright ad, because it comes from a personality that the audience trusts.
The top 5 careers today’s kids want when they grow up
- Doctor – 18%
- Social Media Influencer – 17%
- YouTuber– 14%
- Veterinarian – 13%
- Teacher – 9%
Since Social Media Influencer and YouTuber are similar and even overlapping roles, taken together, that’s 31 per cent of young people aiming for a career as an online personality. This indicates that today’s young people want to express themselves, they’re creative, and they would like to have an audience.
While having an ambition for followers can lead to experimentation in order to come up with new forms of content to share, it can also be a tough job. In the early days of social media, it was easier to stand out and earn an audience. Now, the space is much more crowded.
Still, the skills practiced in the pursuit of this ambition will be valuable in many future roles: communications, public speaking, photo, and video editing, managing online platforms and measuring engagement, and much more.