Temp Staffing Spikes In Cannabis Sector During COVID-19 Pandemic

The cannabis space has seen a string of layoffs, and some companies are resorting to temporary hiring.

Liesl Bernard, the founder and CEO of cannabis staffing firm CannaBiz Team, told Benzinga that her company has seen a 100% increase in temporary staffing in the past two weeks.

Bernard said listings are increasing for customer-facing retail and delivery roles, as well as warehouse and manufacturing positions.  

"Pretty much across the board, our clients are looking for extra help," she said.

Karson Humiston, CEO and founder of cannabis staffing firm Vangst, confirmed a "huge uptick" in temporary staffing listings as well, citing record days in California and Colorado for budtender listings.

A Trend Of Cannabis Layoffs 

Beginning in 2019, prominent cannabis companies have trimmed their headcounts — such as MedMen Enterprises Inc. MMNFF MMEN, which reduced its staff by 40%.

Layoffs have continued in 2020, with a myriad of significant players firing employees. In one example, Canopy Growth Corp CGC WEED slashed 500 jobs. 

More recently, cannabis companies have attributed layoffs to the newly bearish market and the coronavirus pandemic. 

OrganiGram Holdings OGI ORGO laid off much of its staff, saying it had to comply with social distancing. Canopy Growth also announced it was temporarily halting store operations across the country.

Several other ventures across the sector, including The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) and Leafly, have taken similar actions.

A Lasting Trend?

Dispensaries have seen a spike in sales as quarantines were declared across the country.

"It has highlighted to our clients that temporary help is available to the cannabis industry. A lot of [companies] may not have been aware of it before," said CannaBiz Team's Bernard. 

Onboarding costs tend to be lower when working with an agency than when hiring in-house, she said. 

The latter can cost thousands of dollars per employee when accounting for the myriad human resources aspects required, Bernard said. 

Another trend that may take hold is temp-to-permanent position hiring, which tends to rise during times of high unemployment. 

Staffing increases have occurred internally as well. To meet the growing demand, Bernard said CannaBiz Team has doubled its staff across the company's offices in California and Florida.

Operations have been remote to adhere to social distancing requirements.

Disclosure: Andrew Ward has previously provided creative services to CannaBiz Team.

Related Links:

Cannabis Startups Flowr And Leafly Cite COVID-19 Fears For Layoffs

MedMen CEO On Recent Layoffs: 'We're On Chapter Two, Where Execution Means Profitability'

Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.

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