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As the cannabis industry matures in many states and more Americans support federal legalization than ever before, businesses and employees working in and with the industry have gained legitimacy. In fact, the industry has progressed so far that both plant-touching and ancillary cannabis businesses are now able to lure highly experienced professionals from other industries to cannabis.
Not only are cannabis and cannabis-related businesses hiring for jobs that are specific to the industry, such as wellness advisors, brand ambassadors, cultivation agents, and field specialists, but they’re also hiring for jobs that are found in a wide variety of industries across the entire supply chain. Even unique roles, like budtenders, share skill sets that professionals can hone in other industries before transitioning to cannabis.
There isn’t a single industry that professionals joining the cannabis industry come from, nor is there a single type of job or job level that the majority of professionals held prior to joining the cannabis industry.
According to Vangst’s 2022 report, An Analysis of the Cannabis Professional, entry-level, early career, mid-level, managers, and executives are making the move and bringing their skills and experience to the cannabis industry doing everything from retail sales, marketing, and supply chain logistics to engineering, food science, finance, and more.
The Vangst researchers found that the majority of workers moving to the cannabis industry come from the retail sector. The full ranking of the industries workers move from is as follows:
It turns out that the cannabis industry, while highly regulated, operates much the same as any other industry that delivers products to consumers, and those cannabis companies need all of the employees (and their skills and knowledge) that companies in different industries need. This doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been working in the industry. It’s just a fact that is finally gaining more widespread understanding among those who’ve been on the outside looking in.
As part of its research, Vangst asked survey respondents to identify how many years of experience they have working in the cannabis industry. The results may surprise you. In 2022, one in three cannabis industry workers (33.2%) has less than a year of experience in the industry, and one in two workers (51.1%) has less than two years of experience in the industry.
Overall, fewer than one out of three cannabis workers (30.2%) has five or more years of experience in the industry. For an industry that’s very unique in terms of regulations, that’s not a lot of time. However, it could be argued that it’s easier to learn the industry’s nuances than it is to gain transferrable skills and experience that can be applied to the cannabis industry.
Vangst reports that there is strong demand in the cannabis industry for professionals in marketing and sales roles as well as for roles in accounting, finance, IT, and human resources. Professionals who transition successfully to the cannabis industry have a combination of both job-related skills as well as critical soft skills, like emotional intelligence, which can be applied to any job, company, or industry.
As more workers from other sectors join the cannabis industry, and as the industry continues to gain legitimacy, it will continue to evolve in terms of professionalism. We’re already seeing this happen with the growth of multistate operators, mergers and acquisitions, investors, and increased competition. As a result, cannabis and ancillary companies and brands have to elevate the professionalism of their work environments, technology, marketing, branding, retail space, training, and more to stay competitive.
The cannabis jobs market for the future is expected to continue growing, and the cannabis industry will add to local and state economies. A recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank (Kansas City district) found that cannabis legalization at the state level significantly impacts the economy, creates jobs, generates tax revenue, and improves real estate sales. These types of reports add more legitimacy to the industry, which likely translates into more professionals looking for cannabis industry jobs.
The 2022 Cannabis Industry Salary Guide from CannabizTeam reports that cannabis and cannabis-related companies are now able to meet or beat compensation packages offered by companies in other sectors, and multistate operators are known to increase compensation packages to attract the best talent to high-demand positions. These packages could include performance-based bonuses, expanded benefits, and retirement packages.
Bottom-line, the cannabis industry needs skilled professionals, and with improved perceptions of the industry and competitive salary and benefit packages, more professionals are seriously considering making the move.
For professionals who are thinking of joining the cannabis industry, networking is the best way to do it. Get started by brushing up on networking tips for cannabis professionals and learn the tips to be successful at cannabis networking events. Businesses working in and with the cannabis industry have a wide variety of hiring needs, and specific experience in the cannabis industry is no longer a top priority for many hiring managers today.