Last year, cannabis employee tip jar stories filled the air. In most of these situations, employees were complaining that customers had left money in tip jars that weren’t making their way to the employees. Social media weighed in suggesting the employees weren’t getting a fair wage and cannabis companies should give them raises. Now it seems the data is showing that these employees are making more than their traditional industry counterparts.
Not So Bad
Cannabis employment company Vangst just released its 2022 salary guide that determined cannabis employees actually made more money when compared to mainstream-non-cannabis-industry roles of the same position. “The roles that reportedly pay higher within cannabis are Budtenders (+45.1% when compared to mainstream Bartenders), HR Generalists (+29.8%), and Customer Support Specialists/Agents (+28.3%). 65% of respondents said their cannabis salary is about the same or more than the salary they earned at their last job.”
The employees that can complain about their salaries compared to the mainstream industry are VPs of Manufacturing (-103.4%) VPs of Marketing (-100.5%), and Controllers (-100.1%). Still, the VP of Manufacturing is one of the highest-paid roles in cannabis with a range of $125-$180k per year. The VP of Retail brings in roughly $140-$200k a year. On the legal side, VP of compliance salary ranges between $130-$180k, the VP of Sales clocks in at $150-$225k and the General Counsel makes between $150-$225k. The roles with the biggest reported positive change in salaries year-over-year were Brand Managers (+56.9%) and Edible Specialists (+42.1%).
Unfortunately, not everyone did so well as the biggest reported negative changes in salaries year-over-year were Directors of Cultivation (-122.7%) and VPs of Operations (-52.8%).
Vangst reported it saw an uptick in every racial category except Asian American Pacific Islanders in the 2022 survey results. “The largest percentage jump was in people who identify as Asian (+85%), followed by Hispanic or Latinx (+47%), Indigenous People (+35%), Black Americans (+7%), and then White Americans (+11%). It’s important to note that those large increases are the result of relatively small increases in numbers that were already very small. People who identify as white actually made up a larger percentage of cannabis workers in 2022 than they did in 2021 (72.2% v. 65.1%).”
Sadly, the report said that fewer employees report that their company is “very diverse” while more say that their company is “somewhat diverse.” On a positive note, the number of people who said their company is “strongly lacking diversity” dropped by 3 points. Still, Vangst noted that cannabis companies still have a lot of work to do: 64% of those who responded to our survey say they do not have any Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives, working groups, or a diversity council.
The outlook from Vangst for 2023 is mostly positive. The report thinks that New York’s focus on social equity applicants will help turn the tide on diversity. The program may be slow to roll out, but the priority placed on diversity could reverberate throughout the industry.
“Our salary guide has been an important resource for hiring managers and job seekers alike for the past five years. While the industry has faced several challenges within the last year, the data provided in this year’s guide points toward a brighter future complete with opportunities for improvement and growth. As in past years, we are confident that this guide will help industry leaders make better-informed decisions about their companies and build a professional, diverse, and engaged workplace as well as guide job seekers to better navigate the cannabis industry,” said Karson Humiston, Founder and CEO of Vangst.