The Cannabis industry today is similar to the DotCom era in its infancy – at least in terms of its potential. It is estimated that the cannabis industry has the potential to dwarf the National Football League in terms of annual revenue generation. For anyone curious the NFL generated over $13 billion in 2016. By comparison the Cannabis industry is projected to top $20 billion in the next 4 years. What we can expect is a boom in employment opportunities, and everyone needs to be paying attention.
My prediction is that this number will be much much higher $20 billion in the next 4 years. The capacity for it to grow and evolve is just tremendous. This will ultimately fan out into segments of existing markets. Recreational cannabis will equate to the alcohol and tobacco industries. Medical cannabis will evolve into specialized biotech companies. Edibles will operate similar to the food and beverage industry. There are designers who specialize in hemp clothing. Manufacturing and distribution companies exist that specialize in grow pods, lighting fixtures, accessories and the like. And of course at the root of it all is the Cannabis plant – itself an agricultural product.
Many people already have the basic skills to succeed in the Cannabis industry. There are rules and regulations specific to the industry, but the basic skills will apply and transfer easily enough. The demand for skilled workers will grow considerably, but at this point the stigma of illegitimacy remains on many levels. Many people remain in the shadows when it comes to openly broadcasting their interest or experience in the industry on social media. This makes it difficult for companies to locate many of the top candidates for open positions. Think about how many executives exist in conservatives industries that favor cannabis but have to remain silent or face scrutinity. This is a reality in a lot of places.
There are a number of staffing firms currently specializing in the Cannabis industry. Some examples include Veridian Staffing, Vangst, and others. As with everything there are a handful of quality firms and a large number of opportunists. This will evolve as does the industry itself, but I believe it will take some time before many of the large multi-location firms join in. In the near term the major players will be smaller, boutique firms.
On the upside the boutique firms often have seasoned recruiters who have been in the business for a long time. These are the firms and the recruiters to look for. The downside is that many of these firms – especially in the Cannabis space – have popped up out of nowhere and who have brand new or relatively new recruiters out for an easy buck. These are to be avoided at all costs.
Currently I see most of the positions being advertised being relatively entry level. There is high demand for drivers, trimmers, bud tenders, customer service. The demand for many of the more highly skilled positions appear to be on a consulting basis. This will change as increasing amounts of capital flood into to industry. In my opinion, now is the time to make these investments into human capital. Companies that do this not only show that they are committed to running their business like a business, but they are also building creating loyal teams with a shared vision. Most importantly, and what many firms and chief executives seem to miss is that by hiring for the executive level of the organization now, their access to investors, capital and networks increase exponentially. These are people with established connections in their own right, and once they join a team those networks come with them – FREE! It’s that added bonus that doesn’t show up on a resume, and it doesn’t even come out in an interview, but it’s there. Those people would not have made it to that level in their previous organizations without it.
To wrap this up we have a very exciting time ahead of us. As the Cannabis industry continues to grow and gain acceptance the opportunities that exist for both employers and employees are tremendous. Now is the time to take that next step. Make those connections, dust off those resumes, ask those questions and make it happen. Here’s to your success.