How Cannabis Companies are Preparing for Recession Hiring

Jonathan Rose / Sep 27, 2022
hero-graphic-How Cannabis Companies are Preparing for Recession Hiring
Photo Credit: Eric Prouzet via Unsplash

Landing the right talent is a whole different game in a downturn

It’s not an easy time to be running a cannabis company in today’s economy. Whether we’re currently in a recession, on our way to a recession, or looking likely to squeak by one is a matter of who you talk to and which experts you listen to.

But the bottom line is that, for cannabis companies, times are undeniably tough: Wholesale prices are plummeting. Sales — once buoyed by pandemic lockdowns — are dismal in many states. Stocks are bottoming out, and every week seems to bring news of a new round of layoffs at well-known businesses.

It seems that the industry may not be, after all, “recession proof,” as many have been saying for years.

Are cannabis companies still hiring?

Yet cannabis — just like every other industry — is still hiring. At the time of this writing, there are about 3,000 open jobs at But 93% of those jobs are hourly.

“Most layoffs are happening at a higher level,” Vangst Founder and CEO Karson Humiston recently told a group of investors, executives, and other cannabis influencers at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference 2022 in Chicago. “We’re still seeing hourly, entry-level positions in the market.”

And that’s one sign of how we’re seeing cannabis companies prepare for a recession at Vangst when analyzing hiring trends.

How cannabis companies are hiring during the downturn

“Chaos creates opportunity,” Karson said.

And we’re seeing businesses take advantage of our current economic turbulence in other ways too when it comes to hiring:

  • Creating core teams: “Doing more with less” isn’t just a cliche — it’s a reality for many cannabis companies. And that means building a team you trust deeply to do the work you need done competently, consistently, and reliably.
  • Rallying around mission statements and what their companies stand for.

“A job is just a job,” Karson said. “But when you add emotion and feeling behind your ‘why,’ you’re better set up to retain your employees

  • Taking the time to hire the right fit for permanent positions: “Prioritize soft skills,” Karson said. “The other skills can be taught or learned.”

Vangst’s Vetted product is one possible solution: We take care of every step of the recruiting process — from a targeted talent search to pre-interviews and reference checks.

  • Hiring temporary or seasonal staff: Especially as we approach Croptober, companies like Vangst offer temporary and temp-to-hire workers for all verticals of the cannabis industry.

Not only does it save you the headache of interviewing dozens of folks for a few roles, but it also saves you time and effort in other ways: Vangst GIGS workers are on our own payroll as W2 employees. That means you don’t have to worry about payroll taxes or things like workers compensation. On top of that, we ensure they’re credentialed to work in cannabis in your state according to its rules and regulations.

  • Paying close attention to “burn rate” — or the speed with which companies are plowing through venture capital.

No matter what’s going on in the overall U.S. economy, and no matter how the cannabis sector is faring at this very moment, there’s no denying the fact that this is an industry that isn’t going anywhere but up. More than 20 states could have legal adult-use cannabis programs by this time next year, and a majority (37 as of this writing) already have medical programs in place.

Vangst is growing with the industry, with an unparalleled view into cannabis companies' hiring. For more information on cannabis hiring and workforce trends, download our 2021 Cannabis Industry Salary Guide here, and keep an eye out for the 2022 edition in early 2023.

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