The cannabis industry is unfolding at a rapid pace, with no signs of slowing down. According to different Vangst, by 2020, there will be 340,000 new cannabis jobs in the U.S., whereas “by the end of 2025, the global cannabis market is expected to hit $66.3 billion.”
But while this explosive development is bound to cause the cannabis industry to initially fall behind in terms of experienced workforce, opening up lots of employment opportunities with a perhaps lower entry bar than they normally would have, this shouldn’t be mistaken for desperation and a lack of standards. The cannabis industry is headed toward a bright future, devoid of past stigmas, and it wouldn’t be able to fulfill its journey with employees who merely see it as a chance to have one of those “dream” jobs people can’t believe someone pays for.
Here is some information and tips to help you get a feel for what you can gain from working in the cannabis sector, what employees are looking for, and the ways to increase your chances of impressing them.
Study Companies’ Values
Certain cannabis companies, especially the ones with a strong focus on craft cannabis, tend to value integrity, hard work, and genuine passion for the plant’s historical and cultural roots. Demonstrating such qualities can get you a long way in the interview process and make up for a lack of experience, especially in those early stages of the industry’s development.
“We look for qualities reflected in our Values. A good attitude towards cannabis helps. You don’t have to partake, but you should have a healthy respect for the plant, and for the people who’ve kept it’s knowledge,” Jamie Shaw, the Chief Communications and Culture Officer at Pasha Brands, Canada’s largest organization of craft cannabis brands, tells us.
On the other end of the spectrum, some companies are mostly in it for the money, as simple as that. Such companies might not be too impressed by candidates who can trumpet their passion for cannabis but don’t know how to convert it into tangible results.
The bottom line here is some cannabis companies differ so much in their values and agendas that it can be hard to believe they belong in the same industry. “Learn about the companies in the space and draw the lines about the types of organizations you will and won’t work with,” Shaw explains.
Once you get acquainted with the companies, you need to be realistic, or otherwise you’ll just be wasting yours and employees’ time. While the unique stage of the cannabis industry development may level the playing field and negate the lack of experience to a certain extent, it can only get you so far.
“We’re still developing as a newly legal industry. As the market continues to mature, though, there will likely be less opportunity to develop experience that can offset that [the lack of education],” Shaw explains.
So, while the window of opportunity for people who don’t necessarily have the proper education or experience is now, it’s also closing and you need to pick your shots. All the passion for cannabis in the world wouldn’t be able to land you a job in something like accounting or shipping if you don’t have any relevant experience or skills.
Research the Industry
Having a personal interest in cannabis in no way constitutes actually knowing the status quo of the industry or at least the general outlines of the landscape, regulations and the limitations they pose, forecasts, etc. To appear as a serious candidate, for any company, you have to do your homework and show you’re ready to go. Threading their way through the constantly changing regulations is hard enough for cannabis companies as it is; don’t expect anyone to be holding your hand much.
With cannabis companies having to constantly make their way through uncharted territories, adaptability is one of the qualities that can instantly set you apart from the competition. In that spirit, experience in start-ups or something along those lines, where adaptability, disruption, and fighting to stay afloat are part of the day-to-day responsibilities, can really increase your employability.
Niches with the Highest Demand for Employees
“It really depends on the company, but probably compliance. The ability to understand the regulations and find ways to do the things within them that are different, but still compliant. Of course, growing is a major skill set that is needed by some.” Shaw says.
Entrepreneurship and Technology
The cannabis industry right now is one giant, wide-open, heavily regulated, field of opportunities, waiting to be seized by people with a proactive mindset. And with work arrangements becoming increasingly flexible, you don’t have to apply for a job per se to work in the sector.
Instead, through research and your own observations, you can identify unique problems that different companies face, and come up with specialized solutions, be it in the form of a business model, app, algorithm, platform, or something else.
Considering that the cannabis industry is blossoming against the backdrop of the ever-evolving technological landscape, it’s no wonder that we are witnessing more intersections of the two sectors. For people with a love for and knowledge in both, the time to coalesce them into something unique, such as a company, product, service, etc., is now.
“We are still in a small window where if someone sees a need that isn’t being filled, there’s a good chance they can create the solution, and find a niche,” Shaw says.
The budding cannabis industry poses unique challenges with which come exciting opportunities. And even though, compared to other fields, employers in the cannabis sector might be a little more open-minded and unconventional in their talent acquisition, to make the most of those opportunities, you have to approach them like a professional. Because it’s professionalism that this sector needs, now more than ever.
Image Credits: L.A. Cannabis News