The legalization of cannabis across the US is generating a workforce boom in the industry. Specialty research firm, New Frontier Data, found that the number of cannabis jobs will increase to more than 280,000 jobs by 2020. Based on current trends, the pool for qualified employees to fill these positions will predominately be made up of millennials. According to the Pew Research Center, millennials are currently the largest generation in the US workforce. In fact, the research and analysis of the US Census Bureau data found that more than one-in-three American labor force participants, or 35 percent, are millennials. With the number of jobs increasing in the cannabis sector, combined with the currently good economy and more employers increasing job perks, competition for attracting millennials is great. Here are three major focus points cannabis companies should consider to attract the best and brightest.
Show Millennials the Money
The cannabis industry is opening opportunities for very profitable ventures. Last year, Arizona brought in $406 million from medical cannabis. For recreational use, California brought in $2.75 billion and Colorado, $1.56 billion. The latest statistics show that a small cannabis regulated dispensary business can average about $3 million in revenue per year. The potential for profit is enormous and affords the opportunity for employers to offer more to potential job candidates. According to a study conducted by the Marijuana Policy Group, in 2015, over 18,000 full-time jobs were created in Colorado in the cannabis sector. While many cannabis industry jobs pay about $15 per hour for entry-level work, bud trimmers or collector of harvest, other higher level, and higher paying jobs are emerging. For example, a Greenhouse Production Manager can earn around $70,000 and a Director of Cultivation up to $100,000.
Millennials have a stronger grasp on financial planning than generations of the past and they are willing to job-hop more, seeking greater fulfillment and larger paychecks. A recent Gallup poll found that 21 percent of millennials say they’ve changed jobs within the past year, which is more than three times the number of non-millennials who report the same. Offering more money to work in the cannabis industry is a great starting place for attracting millennials. Employee engagement involves providing what millennials desire on multiple fronts, including an opportunity to make a difference in the world, but padding their wallets is near the very top of that list.
Don’t Skim on the Bennies
The millennial crowd wants the money, but they also want to be taken care of in other ways. They want to know that health insurance will be provided as well as an opportunity to own a piece of the company. As many cannabis companies are start-ups or relatively new entities, you don’t see the same level of benefits provided. Recent studies have shown that only 70% of cannabis companies offer medical insurance to full-time employees, and closer to half provide dental or vision. A key way for a cannabis employer to distinguish themselves from the crowd is to go the extra mile and provide robust benefits. While health insurance is desirable, 401K and stock option plans are also greatly desired by millennials.
Provide Opportunities to Change the World
Millennials have a deep desire to make a difference in the world. A recent Harvard Business Review article revealed that in this respect, millennials really aren’t much different from other generations of workers. We all want to make an impact in the world, but millennials will move to another employer faster than other generations if they don’t see changes happening. But millennials do tend to lean a little more toward taking their impact on the world a little more serious. Research by IBM’s Institute for Business Value found in a study of 1,784 employees in companies in 12 countries, and across six industries, that 25 percent of millennials want to make a positive impact on their organization, compared to 21 percent of Gen Xers and 23 percent of Baby Boomers. Tap into this desire by creating a clear Corporate Social Responsibility program that explains how the business impacts the greater good, and specifically, how individual workers are contributing in their way. Helping millennials feel good about their career choices will go a long way toward attracting and retaining the right candidates.
Business is business – whether making and selling cars or growing and distributing cannabis. However corporate culture can be the one thing makes a difference. As we know, the cannabis industry is impacting lives in a healthful, and profitable way. Communicating this kind of culture throughout your organization increases loyalty and a following. This shift in business culture, combined with offering what millennials want, should attract the best of the best. As stated in the aforementioned Harvard Business Review article, “People want to work in an inclusive environment where they are respected, valued and treated fairly. They want their opinions to count, and they want their contributions recognized and rewarded both financially and psychologically.” Attracting millennials doesn’t require applying a secret formula to the job ads or interviews. They just know what they want. Now you do too.