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Cannabis Industry Salary Report: Increased Demand For Top Talent As Salaries Continue To Surge

May 11, 2021 11:36 am
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Cannabis Industry Salary Report: Increased Demand For Top Talent As Salaries Continue To Surge

With 320,000 full-time cannabis jobs in 2021, legal adult-use cannabis in 17 states and D.C., and medical marijuana in 36 states, the U.S. cannabis industry continues to prove its strength and resiliency.

Seeking to provide a clearer picture of the industry, cannabis-focused executive search and staffing firm CannabizTeam has released its 2021 Cannabis Industry Salary Guide – Second Quarter Update.

The report looks into salaries for the most popular positions within the cannabis space and examines hiring trends.

The updated salary guide also highlights changes in the cannabis industries over the past period.

“The future is bright, and we look forward to our continued role in placing exceptional talent at the industry’s leading companies,” CannabizTeam founder and CEO Liesl Bernard disclosed.

Some of the hottest jobs in cannabis are leadership positions, including director of distribution, director of cultivation, vice president of product development, chief financial officer, vice president of human resources, and vice president of retail, the report writes.

  • Other key findings of the report include:
  • Over the past couple of years, cannabis salaries spiked due to increased demand that outpaced supply. In 2020, the median executive salary grew by 10%, with the trend continuing in the first three months of 2021.
  • The highest paying position in both 2020 and 2021 was chief executive officer, with an average base salary of $315,450 and $350,300, respectively, representing an 11% increase year-over-year.
  • Chief operations officers followed, earning an average of $232,700 in 2020 and $257,100 in 2021.
  • The lowest paying jobs in cannabis were trimmer and brand ambassador, with an average annual wage of $32,250 and $33,500, respectively, in 2020. Over the ongoing year, salaries increased by 5% to $34,000 for trimmers and 6% to $35,550 for brand ambassadors.

Hiring Trends: Diversity, Temp Workers & Non-Cannabis Talents

The burgeoning industry continues to seek diversity among its employees, as evidenced by the opportunities within all cannabis verticals for minority candidates.

The trend of hiring temporary workers is also evident, especially for hard-to-fill jobs and to cover full-time employees on health or family leave.

The temp markets in California, Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, and Oklahoma are utilizing temp jobs to check out the new staff before permanent hiring.

2020 also saw C-suite cannabis positions filled by seasoned experts from outside the cannabis industry for the first time.

Many cannabis businesses strengthened their teams by hiring beverage experts. Food experts followed suit.

Other industries that yielded cannabis talent include pharmaceuticals, as well as agriculture, medical supplies, consumer packaged goods, technology, and retail sectors.

California still tops the U.S. booming cannabis job market with 24,000 new jobs created in 2020 and a total of 58,000 people working in the industry. Gross sales amounted to $3.7 billion in the Golden State.

Other states that made it to the top ten are Colorado, Florida, Arizona, Washington, Michigan, Oregon, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.

Find the full report here.

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