For those interested in making a career switch or individuals just starting in the workforce, the cannabis industry offers myriad opportunities. Though with a continuing low jobless rate, filling some of the roles has proved difficult. Here’s a look into Canada’s cannabis job boom and how some companies are filling the new positions.
It’s Not All Growing
When you think about cannabis jobs, your first thought may be about working in a greenhouse tending plants. After all, cannabis requires special growing conditions and plenty of care to ensure it meets regulations and is harvested on time. However, this is just one small aspect of the burgeoning cannabis industry.
The cannabis industry has created new jobs that didn’t previously exist, while also increasing the demand for jobs in adjacent industries. In December, Bloomberg estimated that there were 1,700 cannabis-specific job openings in Canada. A quick search of Indeed.ca shows a need for educators, marketers, project managers, and more.
Beyond working in growing, some of the new roles required by Canada’s recreational cannabis industry include research and development positions, cannabis lab testing positions, and more. While greenhouse workers are in high demand, there are numerous positions that must be filled to support the growing cannabis market and ensure that all cannabis products meet current safety requirements.
For example, dispensaries are on the lookout for qualified staff members to help adults choose products, while testing organizations are increasing their staff numbers to keep up with demand. Digital marketing agencies, web designers, and software companies are also creating cannabis related roles. From creating content and web presences that are in line with government regulations around cannabis content and advertising to engineering POS, loyalty, and seed-to-sale software programs that help licensed producers and retailers manage every aspect of their operations in a way that meets all of Health Canada’s requirements, these groups require creatives as well as techies and lawyers to ensure that everything is compliant.
Filling the New Roles
So, who is filling all these new jobs? While many Canadians have found worthwhile employment with cannabis companies and retailers, demand has been so high that some companies have actually had trouble hiring for their positions. To deal with this issue, some Canadian cannabis companies have turned to foreign workers. Through the use of the country’s Seasonal Agriculture Worker Program, cannabis companies have increased their labor force with temporary workers primarily from Guatemala and the Caribbean to deal with shortages, particularly in their greenhouses. Whether this will be a permanent solution remains to be seen, however, it has helped to fill roles that were experiencing high turnover rates.
Greenhouse work can be difficult, especially during the summer months. Because of this, companies have found it hard to maintain quality staff during peak growing time. By bringing in foreign workers, they hope to increase their yield and ensure that as many plants as possible make it into retail outlets. Otherwise, when plants go untended or unharvested, growers are losing money.
Other cannabis positions, like those in lab testing environments, are often filled by Canadian citizens who have previously held similar roles in other industries. According to Statistics Canada, current cannabis jobs tend to be full-time positions that pay slightly more than the national average wage—making them enticing for new graduates as well as individuals who have been out of the job market. For those who enjoy cannabis recreationally, a cannabis job may feel like a perfect fit.
Will the Canadian Cannabis Job Boom Continue?
The Cannabis industry continues on its record-breaking path—and Canada is primed to make headway as a leading grower and purveying of quality cannabis. But will the job boom continue alongside it?
With the positive effects that legalization may have on the economy and the bright prospects for continued growth in the future, Canada’s cannabis industry is poised to continue its positive trend. Future legislation, such as the legalization of cannabis-infused edibles, will also likely spark a new round of growth as new and old cannabis companies begin innovating in the world of cannabis beverages and treats. With last years sales expected to be between CA$800 million and CA$1 billion, forecasts for 2019 paint a rosy future for legal cannabis.