The Future of the Cannabis Workforce
By Shannon Kloet, Director Training Services
Cannabis Compliance Inc.
By 2030, 30% of Canadians will be over the age of 60. For every retiree, there will be two people employed in the workforce– down from four in 2015. There will be more seniors than students in K-12 for the first time in history. These statistics, coupled with a job forecast of upwards of 150,000 new jobs in Canada, mean there will be less employees and they will have the ability to command a higher salary.
Where will this workforce come from? There will be 5 primary channels filling this shortage:
- unskilled labourers who are new to the cannabis industry
- people with transferable skills from other industries such as manufacturing, automotive, energy
- skilled labourers from similar industries such as production horticulture, or pharmaceutical
- the legacy industry
- the super skilled and truly experienced, who will be in high demand causing employers to compete for them or develop them
There are six gaps in employee skill development facing this industry. These gaps can be explained as:
- The Essential Skills Gap: a lack of basic numeracy and literacy
- The Basic Gap: The Gap Between What Employers are Seeking and What they Can Find
- The Expectations Gap – The Gap Between What an Employee Expects to Experience at Work and What they Actually Find Themselves Doing
- The Productivity Gap – The Skills We Need to Develop to Significantly Improve Productivity
- The Leverage Gap – The Underutilization of Skills in the Workforce
- The Futures Gap – The Gap Between Current Skill Sets and the Skills We Need to Become Competitive in the 4th Industrial Revolution
What can employers do to start bridging this skills gap?
Training and education. This is an obvious place to start. Training that is focused on capabilities and competencies and less focused on credentials, will be key. Non-traditional programs that allow for mentoring, coaching and guiding for success, as well as recognizing prior learning, will work to transition folks and prepare them for jobs in this industry.
It will be important to evaluate training programs on a few key criteria: credibility, duration, price. When I say credibility, I’m referring to how the curriculum was developed. It is important to note who was involved and the relevancy of their experience and knowledge. When it comes to cost and duration, the question to ask is whether the investment into the training program equate to the job opportunities that will arise upon completion. I’ve witnessed lengthy training programs that resulted in minimum wage/high turnover jobs. The return on investment just isn’t justifiable. In contrast, a course such as CCI’s “Integrated Pest Management” is not a huge investment of either time or money, but could have a substantial positive impact on the operations of a Licenced Production Facility.
Create Succession plans. One approach to Succession Planning & Management is to identify your future needs, along with key positions and competencies. Look internally. Select high potential candidates who, with the right training and development, can step into a role when it is required of them. Imagine a scenario in which your trusted and reliable Quality Assurance Person is lured away. Are you prepared? Do you have someone internally that is prepared to take over this role? These positions are in high demand and can take a significant amount of time and resources to recruit and train, ultimately putting your productivity at risk.
Increase Retention. Recently, it became possible for key positions to have their security clearance transfer to alternate employers. This change increases the chance of your competitors looking to poach your highly skilled employees. So how do you mitigate this risk?
According to a study done by IBM, “Employees who do not feel they can achieve their career goals at their current organization are 12 times more likely to consider leaving than employees who do feel they can achieve their career goals. Even worse, this number skyrockets to about 30 times more likely for new employees. Conversely, new employees are 42% more likely to stay when receiving the training they need to do their job properly”
For the majority of LP’s who have remote locations, this will be particularly important. If you invest in your employees, they will invest in you.
What is the benefit in Workforce training?
Simply put, training your employees gives you a competitive advantage. In a highly regulated industry, having a skilled workforce will build in efficiencies, increase performance and profits and reduce risk.
Build in Efficiencies
As more and more employees complete similar training programs, we will start to see the jobs in the industry become more streamlined. This will increase the pool of people that can easily transition between new locations within the industry, and as a result hiring will be easier.
Increase Performance and Profits
According to the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum, research indicates a return of $1.47 on every one dollar spent on training. As well, HR Magazine reports that companies investing $1500 or more per employee per year on training average 24% higher profit margins than companies with a lower annual training investment. These statistics are substantial.
How much does a recall actually cost you? Aside from the monetary cost of recalling products, as well as the potential legal bills, there is also the very real threat of damage to your reputation and brand. All risks are financial; some are existential.
It may appear as though investing in training and education is not imperative when you have many other expenses to consider, however in the wise words of Peter Drucker, “If you think training is expensive, try ignorance”.
Questions about our training programs can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org