Vangst Shares Cannabis Compensation, Career Insights in New Report


Are you looking to break into the cannabis industry? Wondering what you can expect to earn?

Colorado-based recruiting agency Vangst has you covered.

On Monday, Vangst released its newest “Salary Guide” detailing statistics about new cannabis industry job creation and compensation.

The company surveyed more than 1,000 people working in the marijuana sector and found that industrywide job growth continued 2020 even as the coronavirus pandemic upended many sectors.

“Despite the hardships during 2020, the industry flexed its resolve, proved its essential designation while facing the pandemic,” Vangst founder Karson Humiston said via a news release.

According to Vangst, more than 26,000 news jobs will be created by 2025 in five states – Arizona, Montana, Mississippi, New Jersey and South Dakota – where voters recently approved cannabis legalization measures.

Two of those markets – Mississippi and South Dakota – did not offer consumers access to any form of legal cannabis, while the others had previously established medical marijuana markets.

Looking ahead to 2021, Vangst identified several “hot jobs” within the cannabis sector, including cultivation technicians, trimmers, and budtenders, among others.

Job openings that have seen a “sizable jump” in postings compared to last year include cultivation directors, HR directors, and e-commerce professionals, the agency noted.

“In the first half of 2020, there was a sizable dip in hiring for revenue-generating positions like sales and marketing,” Vangst wrote. “However, nine months after the start of quarantine, 2020 survey data shows that hiring plans for these roles have already bounced back.”

It’s worth noting that 63% of the companies Vangst polled to compile its report had cultivation operations, while more than 42% had labs and extraction facilities.

Meanwhile, more than 43% had manufacturing facilities and 42.5% had retail operations.

So, what can you expect to make in those corners of the cannabis sector?

According to Vangst, salaries for retail directors – those who lead retail store teams — and VPs – those who manage dispensary operations — can range between $85,000 and $180,000.

The most experienced retail VPs will take home $180,000, while top-level directors can expect to earn $127,000.

On the other end of the spectrum, budtenders who help customers select products inside dispensaries are making between $14.50 and $17 per hour.

Meanwhile, the most experienced individuals holding director of cultivation roles will earn upward of $147,500 annually, while top-level grow managers will make $75,000.

Similar to budtenders, marijuana trimmers take home between $14.50 per hour and $16 per hour.

Other notable findings from the survey:

  • Director of extraction salaries range between %72,500 and $145,000, depending on experience.
  • Chemists can earn up to $85,000
  • A VP of manufacturing with an impressive resume can command as much as $177,500, while entry-level candidates with limited experience earn $145,000.
  • Sales executives also earn between $145,000 and $175,000 while sales managers take home between $65,000 and $100,000

Vangst also looked at where cannabis companies are sourcing talent. More than 52% of respondents marked “other,” while 11.7% said they previously worked in food service. Other sectors where U.S. cannabis firms are drawing from include retail (7%), agriculture (5.8%), and health care (5.3%), among others.

Most cannabis industry professionals are educated: A combined 66.3% of those in the space earned have either an associate, bachelor’s, or advanced degree, while 19.3% have completed some college.

More than 90% of cannabis companies surveyed now offer “some form of benefits,” according to Vangst. 82% of companies offer paid time off, while 72% offer medical benefits and 63.2% offer dental benefits.

For more insights about salaries and compensation, download Vangst’s 2020 Industry Salary Guide here.

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