Medical cannabis was already big business in Canada. But adult-use legalization, which cleared the Canadian Senate last week, is poised to grow the sector rapidly in the coming months. Major companies in Canada’s marijuana economy are all maneuvering to be the most aggressive out of the gate when legal adult-use sales finally begin. Yet in many respects, the industry is still trying to get its legs under it. There are so many jobs to fill, jobs that in many cases didn’t even exist a year or two ago. But not every job is in the same kind of demand. And that’s why salaries for cannabis growers in Canada are going up.
With Legalization About To Hit, Canada’s Cannabis Companies Face Urgent Need For Cultivators
Job opportunities in Canada’s cannabis industry are cropping up everywhere. The marijuana sector has many moving parts. In addition to key supply chain jobs, like those in cultivation and processing, there’s marketing, customer service, quality assurance and of course, retail.
In Canada, retail recruitment has been underway for some time. Just last week, for example, Canopy Growth, one of Canada’s largest cannabis companies, held a series of job fairs. These recruitment events saw massive turnouts by hopeful candidates seeking positions as budtenders and branch managers.
But that’s just the point-of-sale side of operations. Canada’s leading cannabis companies are facing a serious shortage of talent elsewhere. And with full legalization just weeks from implementation, they’re scrambling to find qualified cultivators.
“If there’s anywhere in the sector where we’re seeing a talent shortage or skill shortage, it’s on the cultivation side,” said CEO of Cannabis At Work Alison McMahon.
Cannabis at Work is a leading employment portal for Canada’s marijuana industry. They help place people in jobs, offer recruitment services and training and provide information about industry trends.
For the second year in a row, Cannabis at Work has conducted a survey about salaries in the cannabis industry. Their data show a shift toward cultivation, with salaries in that space rising faster than any other.
Salaries For Cannabis Growers In Canada Are Going Up
According to McMahon, the demand for critical cultivation jobs is so high because those positions are so new. Colleges and other post-secondary institutions are behind the curve in terms of offering programs in cannabis production.
Many still don’t offer studies and training in cannabis cultivation for the industry. Universities that have started to offer such programs have only done so recently. And students have yet to enroll in significant numbers, let alone graduate into industry jobs.
But McMahon said some workers with experience in plant, flower or produce production have a transferable skill-set. People with degrees in plant biology also have a leg up on other candidates.
And to attract the people with the right skills away from other sectors, companies are increasing salaries for cannabis growers.
Salaries for jobs like cultivation manager, cultivation technician and processing assistant have increased as much as 14 percent across the industry.
For higher-end positions, for example, like quality assurance, salaries can top six-figures. In Alberta, QA workers pull in $103,000 a year on average, according to Cannabis At Work’s survey. Master growers, on the other hand, can earn pay packets above $81,000.
Cultivator Salaries Are Highest In Western Canada
As opposed to Ontario and other provinces in the east of the country, salaries for cannabis growers are increasing faster in western Canada. CEOs in Alberta, for example, can make nearly a quarter million dollars (CAD) annually. By comparison, Ontario execs make under $169,000.
For anyone interested in, or even better, qualified for jobs in cannabis cultivation, now is a great time to put yourself out there.