January 19, 2022 – Cannabis sector salaries are up across the board with increased demand for top-flight leaders driving double-digit increases in compensation for experienced managers and C-suite executives, according to a new report by CannabizTeam, a cannabis-focused executive search firm. Salaries, the study says, continue to increase above cost-of-living index due to competition and a shortage of employees with specialized cannabis experience or specific transferable skills. The firm’s latest Cannabis Industry Salary Guide found that the cannabis industry came through 2021 remarkably strong despite enduring some significant challenges over the past 12 months.
“The cannabis industry continued to flourish and show its strength despite some growing pains in 2021,” said Liesl Bernard, CEO of CannabizTeam. “We expect the industry to continue growing in 2022 with expanding MSOs, increase in available capital, more established brands and high population newly-legal adult-use cannabis states including Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We currently project the U.S. industry will add over 100,000 new cannabis jobs this year.”
“I believe 2021 will be remembered as the year when the strongest cannabis companies increased their market position, solidified their brands, and expanded their multi-state operations,” Ms. Bernard said. “Conversely, companies lacking sufficient capital, quality management teams or strong internal controls struggled to compete. The net result was a continued expansion of the cannabis industry with a record $37 billion in global 2021 sales.”
“In North America, our clients at CannabizTeam hired at record rates to expand operations in existing cannabis markets including Florida, Arizona, Illinois, Michigan and California while preparing for the launch of adult-use cannabis in major new markets including New Jersey and Pennsylvania,” Ms. Bernard said. “Our company expects 2022 will continue this remarkable growth phase for the industry.”
The CannabizTeam report found that companies in medical and adult-use markets are increasingly turning to temporary or “on-demand” workers to fill short-term and mid-term needs in cultivation, extraction, manufacturing, distribution and retail.
With rising consumer demand for edibles, cannabis beverages and topicals, the report also found that companies have substantially increased hiring of extraction, manufacturing and testing talent.
In addition, the CannabizTeam report found that the costs of acquiring and keeping quality team members keeps rising fueled by competition for available talent and nationwide salary inflation. Cannabis industry salaries rose four percent on average in 2021 with compensation for senior executives rising as much as 10 percent.
Salary ranges in the 2022 Salary Guide are based on CannabizTeam’s proprietary salary data, salary surveys and independent research from trusted sources collected through the end of Q4 2021, the firm said.
Growing Search Firm
CannabizTeam now boasts 10 offices in eight states across the U.S. Since its inception in 2016, the search firm has placed top candidates from entry level to specialized C-suite leadership at private and public cannabis companies in North America and Europe. Multi-state clients include TerrAscend, Justice Grown, Ascend Wellness Holdings, Jushi, LEEF Holdings, NewTropic and Benzinga.
Why Cannabis Companies Need Purpose Driven Leaders
With pot becoming legal in an increasing number of states, the expanding sector faces a strong need for talent. But what kind of leadership is best served to fuel this growing sector? A new report from Y Scouts takes a closer look, and leading recruiters that serve the industry then weigh in.
CannabizTeam recently launched a new service line for cannabis companies: CT Board Placement. The new service assists cannabis industry clients in identifying and recruiting candidates for board of director positions who have a diverse blend of skills and experience. CT Board Placement will also offer a cannabis director development program to help first-time directors learn the culture and nuances of the company they will serve as well as the broader cannabis industry. The cannabis director development program includes a detailed curriculum exploring the most relevant governance issues in North America, with a special focus on issues facing boards in the U.S., Canadian and Mexican cannabis markets.
“Appointing the right non-executive directors is a critically important decision for all cannabis companies in today’s competitive marketplace,” said Ms. Bernard. “Recruiting directors in the cannabis space is a more complex process due to the relative youth of the industry and the lingering legacy legal nuances. Our goal with CT Board Placement is to help our clients find a diverse blend of candidates with relevant experience, strong character and reputation, proven judgment and leadership skills that will set them up for future success.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media