Posted on 10 Mar 22byHigher Growth Search

​It’s a universal truth in any industry: Employers can’t compete for job candidates if they can’t compete on salaries.

This certainly applies to the cannabis industry, where explosive growth has created intense demand for workers of all skill levels, from the C-suite on down. Like any industry, lower-wage and higher-turnover cannabis positions create an additional challenge for businesses keeping an eye on both recruitment costs and retention goals.

So what can cannabis companies do to win over workers and get the right people into the right positions with minimal fuss? It all comes back to that universal truth.

To compete on salaries, you need to develop a smart pay strategy. Let’s look at some ways you can do just that:

Understand the Value of a Dollar

Did you know that just one to two dollars an hour can make the difference between a candidate accepting your offer or taking up with the competition?

Higher Growth Search’s sister company, Nelson, surveyed numerous businesses for its 2022 Future of Work Report and collected salary data:

The Nelson survey shows that only a relatively small percentage of companies manage to hit the magic number candidates are looking for. Therefore, when you create your pay strategy, consider your compensation ranges from the candidate’s perspective.

To make sure your rates are competitive, you can refer to many resources for salary data. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides pay information by various criteria. However, it’s important to note that while this tool helps gauge pay trends for traditional roles in retail and manufacturing, it doesn’t include data for cannabis-specific roles. You can also find salary guidance through sites such as, Glassdoor,Indeed and Payscale—but again, data is sparse for jobs unique to cannabis.

Higher Growth Search’s 2022 Salary Guide provides intel on the most common roles in cannabis. We include high-low ranges for product-touching positions, testing labs, distribution and retail—as well as traditional roles in administration, finance and accounting, sales, marketing, IT and more. Because we work with cannabis employers every day, we are attuned to pay rates and can help you structure your compensation to align with current trends.

Whatever you do, make sure your existing employees also receive a salary or hourly wage that is comparable to what you’re offering new candidates—or you run the risk of a once-loyal employee walking out over perceived unfairness.

Betting on Bonuses

Bonuses are another important component of any pay strategy for attracting and retaining top employees. In particular, lower-wage and higher-turnover roles can see positive impacts from smartly timed bonuses designed to boost retention, performance, or sales. If you offer such bonuses, state them clearly in your recruitment process so candidates know about them from the get-go as a differentiator from competitors.

Performance bonuses can make a big difference during seasonal crunch times. Whether you offer a flat-rate bonus consisting of a predetermined sum contingent on goals met by the employee, or a percentage structure that offers the employee a cut of additional revenue they help generate, bonuses are an incentive that benefits everyone.

Bonuses can be an excellent way to not only meet company goals related to staffing but also to push a worker’s overall compensation package further if their salary or hourly rate is already at the company’s upper limit.

Perfecting Your Pay Strategy

As you can see, creating a smart approach to compensation at every level of your company also requires a firm understanding of your organization’s growth goals and payroll load. Studies within the industry, like Higher Growth Search’s 2022 Salary Guide, help shed light on what candidates are seeking—and what your competitors are offering. ​

Connect with the right candidates through Higher Growth Search’s staffing solutions.

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