An increasing number of people are looking for employment in the Canadian weed industry, a trend that is indicative of how the stigma surrounding cannabis appears to be eroding in the lead up to recreational legalization of the drug on October 17th.
Cannabis-related job searches on Indeed.ca were four times higher this July than a year ago, according to a new report from the job site. In fact, in July 2017, searches for terms like “cannabis, marijuana and dispensary” accounted for just six of every 10,000 Canadian searches on Indeed — this July, every 26 of 10,000 searches include those three terms.
“Canadian cannabis is still a small corner of the labour market, but we noticed that every time there was significant news about the cannabis industry, the number of searches of cannabis jobs surged,” Brendon Bernard, an economist at Indeed.ca told VICE Free.
The gradual climb in the number of people looking for cannabis jobs started in mid-2017, before jumping 50 percent at the start of 2018 — this leap, says the report, correlated to rising stock prices of a few large Canadian cannabis companies.
“Searches stayed at this high level through the first half of the year before jumping another 40 percent following the June 20 announcement of October legalization,” Bernard said.
But how many cannabis jobs are actually out there to apply for? Indeed’s forecast says that the number of cannabis-related jobs being posted on its site is 3.2 times higher that it was last July, an increase of 8 to 25 posts for every 10,000 job postings.
“Postings saw their most notable increase between April and early May this year, rising 50 percent in just a few weeks,” notes the report.
To date, there have been no official forecasts on how many jobs the cannabis industry will potentially create once recreational weed becomes legal this summer. Jobs associated with the cannabis industry, after legalization, will be measured automatically as part of Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. That means that any kind of real gauge of how the industry might be aiding the economy on the job front will only be known later this year.
“It’s tough to know how many jobs are going to be created because there are many things that have to be finalized, especially how things will look in the retail space. Retail has the potential to be a significant employer,” Bernard said.
A VICE News report published January found that online searches for work in the weed sector had increased by 320 percent in 2017, driven by hiring sprees in three companies — Canopy Growth, Aurora and Aphria. As of January 2018, Canopy employed 750 people, but the company has plans to grow that number to 3,500 over the next few years.
Aurora started out in Edmonton with just 35 people in late 2015 — as of January 2018, the company was employing more than 450 people, and claims that that number is set to more than double over the course of the year.
In terms of the kinds of jobs that are available, Indeed’s report notes ranks “Quality Assurance Person” as the most common job posting, with “budtender” coming in at a close second. The report also says that three out of ten jobs with the most openings in 2018, are directly involved in the production process — quality assurance person, production assistant, and trimmer.