Three months have passed since the October 17 legalization of marijuana in Canada. The legalization – and the media buzz that followed – propelled the cannabis industry into one that is not only fast-growing but highly sought-after by job seekers.
Since the announcement of the legalization of marijuana, companies have been ramping up on their recruitment strategies. Luckily for these companies, job seekers are increasingly interested in working within the industry. In fact, searches for cannabis jobs were four times higher in July 2018 compared to the same time last year.
What cannabis companies have looked to do the most hiring? Our data team crunched the numbers to find the top 10 companies hiring the most jobs in Canada. We coupled this data with insight from Brendon Bernard, Economist at Indeed, to get a better sense of some of the trends in this up-and-coming industry.
Canopy Growth Corporation accounts for largest share of cannabis jobs
Canopy Growth Corporation – one of Canada’s largest cannabis company – leads the way in cannabis industry hiring, accounting for an astounding 42% of jobs. The company is not only growing substantially, but is also regarding as an employer of choice, ranking among the top-rated workplaces in Alberta. As Bernard points out, “Canopy’s demand for workers has been so great that Smith Falls Ontario, home to its headquarters, is actually experiencing a real estate boom, as workers flock to the area.”
Canopy Growth Corporation was followed by a string of other major licensed producers, including Aurora Cannabis, Tilary, Aphria and The Hydropothecary, and MedReleaf Corp. (a subsidiary of Aurora). Statistics Canada finds employment across Canada’s 120 licenced producers jumped from under 3,000 to over 10,000, in the 12 months ending November. According to Bernard, “the rapid growth in cannabis industry job openings we’ve seen over this period suggests employment growth will continue in 2019.”
However, not all of the top companies hiring in the Canadian cannabis industry are licenced producers. Cannabis Compliance Inc. comes in at number four on the list, and its primary function is to help obtain licences for prospective producers, as well as aid their navigation of the government’s regulatory framework. Some medical cannabis clinics also crack the top 10, including O Cannabis Clinic at number eight and Canadian Cannabis Clinics rounding the top 10.
Only one retail dispensary ranks on the list – NewLeaf Cannabis – which is based in the Calgary area. “Alberta’s roll-out of private retail dispensaries was expected to be the quickest out-the-gate following legalization,” says Bernard. “As retail outlets expand operations in other provinces, we could see different companies on the list a year from now.”
According to a recent report, cannabis jobs could add an additional 150,000 roles over the next few years. While job seekers have shown interest in the cannabis sector, certain roles, such as master grower, can be difficult to fill. Additionally, as the industry becomes more competitive, employers will need to heighten their efforts to attract talent and adjust their recruitment strategy. Here are some tips for employers hiring hard-to-fill roles.
Three tips for filling hard-to-fill roles
1. Build your employer brand: This term gets touted a lot in the recruitment industry, but it’s more than just a buzzword – having an effective employer brand will help attract quality candidates.
One of the best ways to enhance your employer brand is by curating content about your culture and company perks through social media, video, blogs and third-party sites such as Indeed Company Pages, which combine employer reviews and ratings with company storytelling.
Establishing an effective employer brand will help you attract future employees – 60% of job seekers say that a company’s reputation influences their decision to apply to a company.1
2. Transferable skills: In a tight labour market, employers should consider hiring outside their traditional talent pool and focus instead on finding candidates with core competencies and transferable skills. Transferable skills – or soft skills – are a core set of skills and abilities that can be applied to a wide range of different jobs and industries. While candidates might not have adequate experience in a particular field, they have the skills to adapt to the new role and bring fresh ideas to the table.
Many companies, including those within the cannabis industry, have already started putting this idea into practice. For example, approximately 200 employees lost their jobs in 2016 when the Tolko mill in Merritt, B.C. closed down. Emerald Plants Health Source Inc. is planning a cannabis grow facility in Merritt, and hopes to recruit former Tolko employees due to their transferable skills.
3. Invest in training and development: People want to work at a company where there is room for growth and opportunities to learn. In fact, 70% of employees say training and development opportunities influence their decision to stay with a company.
Not only will providing learning opportunities help with your retention strategy, but it’ll also encourage others to accept an offer at your organization. Popular forms of training include mentorship programs, where employees are paired with an individual who can help them develop their skills, and e-learning, where employees can take self-paced online courses.
To identify the companies in the Canadian cannabis industry with the most job postings, we compiled a list of companies that had posted at least one job in Canada on Indeed over the past year with a title containing one of the following terms: cannabis, marijuana, dispensary, weed, budtender, trimmer and grower, then isolating for companies whose primary function is in the cannabis industry. Companies were then ranked based on their total number of job postings on Indeed between December 1, 2017 and December 1, 2018.
1CA Decipher/ Focus Vision Data (2018)