Stigma still mars cannabis labour market

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A poll by Goldbeck Recruiting Inc. indicates that stigma and personal bias may play bigger roles in the potential of the cannabis industry in Canada than previously thought.

Results reflect input from 1,521 members of the Angus Reid Forum, an online public opinion community in which people across Canada answer surveys on various topics in exchange for points that can be redeemed for prizes or rewards.

Goldbeck gleaned data from the polls in creating its 2020 Cannabis Labour Market report, which explores why job-seekers are willing (or not willing) to work in the cannabis industry.

Seventy-one percent of respondents noted they believed the cannabis industry “would offer competitive salaries,” whereas 72 percent believed the industry would employ “significantly more people in the future.” The latter finding suggests those polled believe recent layoffs in the industry are a temporary setback as opposed to the new norm.

About six in 10 of those same respondents (59 percent) agreed the cannabis industry was “an attractive employer,” while almost half (47 percent) of those currently employed or seeking jobs indicated they had no interest in being part of the industry.

More than half (55 percent) of respondents noted they believed those working in the industry were “likely to face negative stigmas or assumptions from the general public.” / Photo: Tero Vesalainen / iStock / Getty Images Plus Tero Vesalainen / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Results suggest the reason for the latter may have to do with societal perceptions of the drug. More than half (55 percent) of respondents noted they believed those working in the industry were “likely to face negative stigmas or assumptions from the general public,” rendering it a somewhat less attractive career option.

Respondents also expressed concerns about travelling between the U.S. and Canada, as well as cited high salary expectations and a disparity between regions where cannabis companies are based and where willing employees reside.

President Henry Goldbeck said the findings are consistent with the current realities of the industry. “In our experience as a conduit between candidates and employers for cannabis positions, we are seeing trends supporting our findings in the report,” Goldbeck said in a statement.

“We regularly have candidates decline to entertain positions due to their concerns around the industry, but that doesn’t mean the searches are not feasible. There are many people out there that are excited by the new industry, and want to invest themselves in that future,” he added.

The full report can be viewed here

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