After pandemic-related cuts, cannabis hiring is expected to resume in the latter part of 2020 -- except at the executive level.

Industry recruiting platform Vangst surveyed 39 U.S. companies about their hiring intentions this year and found that 36 per cent reduced headcount while another 33 per cent used temporary employee furloughs in response to the pandemic.

However, a rebound is already underway, with 68 per cent saying they plan to increase their workforce in the back half of the year, according to the survey. Sales, marketing and IT staff are the biggest priorities for those companies as they pivot to e-commerce.

What is definitely not a priority is hiring at the leadership level. Of the plant-touching companies surveyed, less than five per cent now say executive hiring is a top-three focus this year compared to 20 per cent at the beginning of 2020.

Jobs Outlook

It appears that the initial blip of cannabis layoffs connected to the pandemic hasn’t slowed down longer-term employment expectations in the industry.

The number of cannabis-related jobs in the U.S. is expected to jump to between 240,000 and 295,000 by the end of 2020, according to trade publication Marijuana Business Daily. That would mark a nearly 50 per cent increase over 2019 levels and is “slightly higher than the number of computer programmers employed in the United States.”

Over the next four years, the industry is expected to add nearly 250,000 full-time jobs, including those working directly in the industry as well as ancillary employees such as consultants and lawyers.

However, the publication sounded a note of caution that may temper its optimistic outlook. “There is the potential for cannabis sales to slow if the economic pain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic becomes more pronounced,” it said. “If so, growth in marijuana industry jobs might stall.”

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