October 28, 2019 – Legal marijuana is now nearly a $10 billion business in the U.S. Investors poured $10 billion into cannabis in North America in 2018, twice what was invested in the last three years combined. The North American market is expected to reach more than $16 billion by the end of 2019.
While talent deficits are a problem in every industry, the marijuana field is exceptionally short on senior-level leaders who can come in and cross-pollinate their functional and industry skills-sets. So it is that recruitment firms are focusing on bringing talent to this smoking hot sector.
Recently, CannabizTeam, a cannabis-focused executive search firm, opened a new office in Chicago. Integral to a broad national expansion initiative to meet the massive demand for talent in the cannabis industry, the Chicago office will focus on clients and candidates in the Midwest region, including Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Oklahoma, as well as select opportunities on the East Coast.
Founded over three years ago by executive recruiting expert Liesl Bernard, CannabizTeam attracts and places talent from entry level to specialized C-suite leadership.
“The explosive growth of the cannabis industry is driving job creation at an unprecedented pace,” said Ms. Bernard, who serves as CEO of the firm. “As companies across the industry seek highly skilled professionals and technical support, CannabizTeam is expanding its footprint to meet these needs. The Midwest region is rich with opportunity and talent, and with recreational legalization taking effect on Jan. 1 in Illinois, we are well positioned to ensure cannabis companies can connect with a diverse range of candidates.”
A recent report from New Frontier Data estimates that the Illinois legal cannabis industry will employ more than 63,000 people by 2025. These estimates are comprised of the expected number of jobs that “touch the plant,” including retail, manufacturing and cultivation. Taking into account ancillary service businesses and roles that support the cannabis industry, these projections are expected to increase significantly.
“As a female entrepreneur and business owner, I appreciate the importance and value of a diverse workforce,” said Ms. Bernard. Through job creation and economic spending, the cannabis industry can have a tremendously positive impact on the communities it supports. I look forward to CannabizTeam connecting talented individuals — from new grads to C-suite executives — with companies that are driving growth and opportunity in the cannabis industry.”
In June, CannabizTeam launched CannabizTEMP, a company specializing in providing consulting and on-demand access to temporary workers to the cannabis industry. CannabizTEMP will initially focus in California, with plans to expand geographically across the U.S.
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“In California alone it is estimated that nearly 200,000 people work in the cannabis industry,” said Ms. Bernard. “Of those, less than 30 percent are temporary or seasonal employees. For companies across the supply chain, the need to access state approved, short-term employees has never been greater. Positions from cultivation, to manufacturing, dispensary retail and even at the C-level require flexible staffing or consulting needs.”
“On average it takes a company in the cannabis industry about six weeks to find, vet and onboard a new potential employee, even for a short-term engagement,” Ms. Bernard said. “The CannabizTEMP offering can shorten that time dramatically, saving employers massively on time and money. We estimate that the cost savings, per employee could approach $20k to $30k. Many of our clients are public companies and this is truly a material figure.”
“Similar to other disruptive periods in history, such as the tech boom, the unprecedented growth of the U.S. cannabis industry has resulted in severe workforce shortages,” said Ms. Bernard. “The challenge is twofold: First, the speed at which these companies are growing makes it near-impossible to satisfy their staffing requirements; and two, most of these companies don’t have experience or infrastructure to hire effectively. As additional states legalize cannabis, more companies will need access to talent on demand in order to maintain a competitive advantage – this problem is not going away, it’s only going to grow.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media