Published March 10, 2022

How to Develop a Winning Pay Strategy in the Cannabis Sector

​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 cannabis, where industry growth has created a demand for workers of all skill levels, from the C-suite to plant-touching roles. 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 the competition?


Higher Growth Search surveyed numerous businesses for its 2022 Future of Work Report and collected salary data:


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


To make sure your rates are competitive, you can refer to many resources that provide pay information using various criteria, such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,, Glassdoor, Indeed, and Payscale. But data can be 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 understand the current pay environment and can help you structure your salary strategy 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 tied to specific goals or a percentage structure that offers employees a cut of the revenue they help generate, bonuses are an incentive that benefits everyone.


Bonuses can not only help companies meet their staffing goals but also can sweeten an overall compensation package when the salary or hourly rate is already at the company’s upper limit.


Perfecting Your Pay Strategy

Taking a smart approach to compensation at every level of your company requires a firm understanding of current compensation trends. Industry studies, such as Higher  Growth Search’s 2022 Salary Guide, help shed light on what pay candidates are seeking—and what pay your competitors are offering.


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