The Cannabis Job Update for Q1 of 2021

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cannabis jobs report

Double-Digit Growth For Execs

While many industries suffered bankruptcy, closures, and layoffs because of the pandemic, the cannabis industry continued to thrive and it does so even more this year.

This is all reflected well in the cannabis industry job market, as demand for talent rises and salaries too are increasing. Based on a report by CannabizTeam, entitled the 2021 Cannabis Industry Salary Guide – Second Quarter Update, there’s a lot to look forward to for individuals in cannabis, as well as those who want to get a foot in the door.

“The future is bright, and we look forward to our continued role in placing exceptional talent at the industry’s leading companies,” explains Liesl Bernard, CannabizTeam CEO and founder. The report highlights the hottest jobs at the moment, which include executive and director roles in cultivation and distribution, as well as product development, human resource VP’s, chief financial officers, and vice president of retail.

“The cannabis industry proved its strength and resiliency in 2020 and enters 2021 as the fastest-growing industry in the United States,” she adds. “With so much hiring, growth and investment activity, we’re seeing a red hot cannabis job market at the start of Q2 2021.”

“Competitive demand for top cannabis talent continues to skyrocket in emerging adult-use markets including Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, New York and New Jersey as hundreds of new licensees are building intrastate supply chains to serve ever-increasing retail stores,” reads the report.

cannabis job graphic

The report also found that salaries continued to increase because of added demand that eclipsed talent supply. The median executive salary for 2020 jumped 10%, and this trend was also noticed within the first quarter of 2021. Additionally, chief executive officer roles had the highest salary for both this year and last, with their average salary being $315,450 and $350,300 respectively, showing an 11% increase.

They found that brand ambassadors and trimmers were the lowest paying jobs, with average annual salaries of $33,500 and $32,250 respectively last year.

Diversity has also become an important issue for cannabis companies, which is fantastic news, showing that there are excellent opportunities for minorities in all verticals. There is also an ongoing trend of hiring temporary workers for hard-to-fill roles as well as for covering full-time staff who are on family or health leave.

Last year, they observed an increase in chief level positions being filled by skilled individuals from outside the industry for the first time. Among the states, California is still leading the job market, having created 24,000 new roles last year and with a current count of some 58,000 in their industry alone. The Golden State now has $3.7 billion in gross sales. Meanwhile, other states that are in the top 10 include Colorado, Florida, Washington, Arizona, Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma.


Leafly Report

The Leafly Jobs Report for 2021 echoes the same sentiments for the industry. Last year, Americans bought $18.3 billion worth of cannabis products, a staggering 71% jump from the previous year. Not surprising, since when the pandemic hit, the industry didn’t suffer a shutdown because cannabis was deemed an essential service by governors. As a result, people stocked up cannabis for months in order to ensure they always had supply. Though in late March 2020, sales saw a mild dip albeit briefly, April saw a spike which was followed by a plateau.

However, a jump in revenue usually matches the hiring because companies have to move fast to cater to the demand. Leafly explains that there were some factors involved which caused a temporary lag in hiring; one was that investors were afraid after Canadian investment results left much to be desired a year after they legalized cannabis federally.


Terrific Outlook For Jobs

Vangst, a cannabis job hiring firm, also has some positive feedback on the industry’s job market this year. Karson Humiston, CEO and founder of Vangst, believes this year could actually be the biggest one yet when it comes to job creation.

“This is going to be the blockbuster year for cannabis hiring,” Humiston disclosed to Cheddar. “2021 is where we’re going to see tremendous job growth, and we think it’s going to be the biggest job creation year the cannabis industry has ever seen.”

“At a time when 10 million Americans saw their jobs disappear overnight in this pandemic, we saw the industry grow,” Humiston adds.

When the pandemic started, the cannabis industry was already suffering from a challenging 2019. But with more people buying cannabis, by the second half of last year, spending habits changed and it was clear that even a pandemic couldn’t get people to stop buying their pot. “The uncertainty this time around is why there was layoffs,” explains Humiston. “Next time around, I definitely think that investors will be more confident putting money into cannabis businesses if there’s an economic pullback.”

“As the states continue to open up and roll out and grow, there’ll be more and more jobs created. We estimate that there could be one million brand new jobs created over the next decade, pending states continue to legalize at the pace that they’re legalizing now,” says Humiston.


Cannabis Businesses Will Continue To Thrive

All of this is happening because the industry reacted swiftly to the pandemic. Retailers and businesses came up with innovative solutions to ensure the demand was being met through deliveries, curbside pickups, and allowing a limited number of customers inside dispensaries once they were allowed to reopen.

We can expect to see more positive job and growth news over the next few months.

Check the job board for new daily listings and openings in your area, click here!

While Federal legalization may take some more time, the cannabis industry has moved forward by creating high-paying, sustainable positions for executives and managment teams.








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