More Of The Same In 2021: Staffing Experts Predict This Year's In-Demand Cannabis Jobs

After a tumultuous year, the cannabis industry finds itself in a place many industries wish to be in: An advantageous situation.

While facing industry setbacks, cannabis mostly survived through the coronavirus pandemic due to various regulatory wins via essential statuses granted and cannabis reforms in several states.

The wins helped the industry thrive, leading to hiring upticks in most American markets.

Staffing experts in the cannabis industry say 2021 should bring more of the same in the form of opportunity and the roles offered.

Related link: The Cannabis Jobs Market Is Booming

A Plethora Of Job Opportunities In 2021

The cannabis market touches just about every job function, leaving it difficult to pinpoint one clear-cut, in-demand job. That scenario was the case in 2020 and will remain the same this year.

While staffing firms reported varying results last year, most agreed that production and cultivation jobs sat at or near the top of the list in 2020.

Viridian Staffing CEO Kara Bradford tells Benzinga that the demand for processing professionals should have that much more of an emphasis on skilled workers with track records of success. Companies are now running leaner, creating a demand for professionals able to "streamline processes, increase profitability, and essentially pay for themselves," she says.

Profitable hires will continue to come in the form of sales, marketing and other internal roles meant to help cannabis companies expand their brand, according to Hemp Staff CEO James Yagielo.

Spencer Peters, Vangst Talent Management Expert, added that internal team hirings might spike more if the pandemic subsides.

"Companies are trying to insulate themselves from the highs and lows of uncertainty," Peters says. "We are seeing a bolstering of internal teams like HR and finance as companies get bigger and acquire other service lines."

Liesl Bernard, the founder of staffing firm Cannabiz Team, says e-commerce roles have been pivotal to sustaining cannabis industry growth, especially during the pandemic. E-commerce managers saw an 18% average salary increase between 2019 and 2020.

Upper-level management saw a significant cut in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to Bradford. She hopes to see a rebound in 2021.

"Much of this will depend if the leaner organizational structures that companies have been operating with this year result in the increased profitability they're hoping for," Bradford says.

Other roles that should remain in demand include various dispensary positions, including delivery, particularly in states that keep pandemic social distancing rules in place.

Temporary staffing, a surging demand during the pandemic, is expected to continue as well. At the height of the pandemic last spring, firms like Cannabiz Team reported a 100% increase in demand for short-term workers.

New Markets, New Opportunities

Applicants should keep an eye out on the states that recently passed reform bills in Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, South Dakota and New Jersey.

Vangst projects that the new markets should create over 26,000 jobs by 2025.

Hemp Staff's Yagielo said that demand for cultivators and dispensary managers should increase as the markets become reality. He projected substantial potential in Arizona and New Jersey as adult use takes shape in both states.

Related link: Temp Staffing Spikes In Cannabis Sector During COVID-19 Pandemic 

Underwhelming Offers

While the cannabis space does provide ample opportunity, applicants should continue to be aware of underwhelming offers.

THC Staffing Group co-founder and CEO Danielle Schumacher cautioned that low-paying roles would continue to be offered in cultivation, facilities, manufacturing and packaging functions.

The financial shortcoming should also continue in the ancillary space, where positions continue to underpay.

"I see many cannabis corporations advertising high paying management jobs, but unfortunately, they often hire unqualified family and friends," said Schumacher.


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