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5 Traditional Corporate Skills the Cannabis Industry Wants in Its New Hires

With the cannabis industry booming, so, too, is its job market. As a recent report from career website Glassdoor shows, hiring at cannabis companies across the country increased by 76 percent least year—a trend that is all but sure to continue.

And cannabis companies aren't just hiring experts in the industry: James Yagielo, CEO of Hempstaff, a cannabis recruiting company, says that cannabis businesses are searching now more than ever for "traditional" positions—think: accountants, sales and marketing managers, inventory control officers and warehouse employees.

"As smaller cannabis companies get larger, and large companies enter the cannabis space, they understand the need for these skilled employees to get the job done correctly and in a timely fashion," he says. That wasn't always the case. "Years ago, cannabis companies were smaller and one person could do multiple jobs," he says.

Now—in this thriving job market—Yagielo says, "we have hired for the cannabis industry directly from other industries, with no previous cannabis employment."

It's easy to see why a "traditional" employee might be swayed to enter the cannabis industry. "The salaries for many cannabis jobs are at least 10 percent higher than the same job in another industry," says Yagielo. (His statement is backed up by the Glassdoor report, which found that cannabis jobs pay 10.7 percent higher than the median U.S. salary.) "That is how the cannabis industry is 'stealing' many employees from other industries—even though it is still federally illegal," Yagielo says.

If you're considering entering the cannabis industry, or looking to hire "traditional" employees, here are five skills Yagielo says cannabis companies will want to see.

1. Basic computer skills.

Cannabis is an extremely regulated industry. And as such, "most employees [in this industry] will be entering information into a state-run inventory or POS system or even other automated equipment," says Yagielo, while others will rely on Microsoft products such as Word, Excel, and Azure. Whatever the position, plan to be tech-savvy. "Most job openings [ask for] good technical computer skills," Yagielo says.  

2. Availability.

If you've ever worked in a deadline-driven or retail sales job, you know an employer values your ability to go with the flow—and to work harder when the workload calls for it. "In the cannabis market, there are ebbs and flows," explains Yagielo. "It can be really slow one week and crazy the next week—based on holidays, sporting events, and new product releases." If you can be available—i.e., to work extra hours or on weekends or evenings, as needed—you will possess something cannabis companies very much need. In fact, as Yagielo points out, "processing and cultivation centers are open 24 hours, and some may state they are looking for third-shift employees."

3. Communication skills.

At Hempstaff, "a majority of our job openings [are looking] for someone who can communicate clearly," says Yagielo. From budtenders to accountants and retail managers, the ability to communicate—both verbally and in writing—is extremely important. "You must be able to document everything that is done in a cultivation and extraction center properly," says Yagielo. "And in a dispensary, you must be able to communicate properly with the customer or patient" in order to help them.

4. Reading (and legal) comprehension.

Every state has very specific laws about cannabis production and sale—and those laws aren't always easy to understand. But if you can read and digest complicated text easily and quickly, you'll have a leg up in this industry. "Not understanding the laws can lead to fines and in some cases jail time and loss of your cannabis license," points out Yagielo, who adds because of this, cannabis laws are "something every candidate should understand before they even apply to their first cannabis job."

5. Workplace passion

Whether you work in a clothing store or for a cannabis cultivator, companies want to hire employees with a passion for their products. "They want someone that they know will love coming to work every day," Yagielo explains, adding that, "not all jobs in the cannabis industry are fun; many are very tedious, repetitious work, so having a passion for cannabis and its healing properties is important to most companies."

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