Cannabis Executive Salaries Are Soaring into 2024

November 16, 2023 · MG Magazine

Chief executive officers at the largest cannabis companies by revenue have moved past the $400,000 base salary threshold with annual salaries topping $416,000—almost ten times what mid-level managers in the industry make, according to a new report from executive search and staffing agency ForceBrands.

According to the firm’s 2024 salary and benefits report for consumer cannabis brands, recruiters are seeing increased interest in securing “hyper-relevant candidates” from outside the industry who can honor core cannabis culture while applying best practices honed in more traditional and mature consumer industries.

“The companies that I think have the highest growth potential in this new industry are the ones that are operating under the strategic assumption that federal legalization is never going to happen,” said Eric Rosen, client strategist responsible for business development across ForceBrands’ cannabis and beverage/alcohol divisions. “These organizations are setting up their business models and dynamics accordingly.”

ForceBrands also surveyed its talent network in September to identify the most and least important benefit categories among millennials, Gen x, and boomers. The study found 66 percent of respondents would leave their job for another with better benefits, highlighting the importance of compensation packages.

Top five salaries in the cannabis industry

According to ForceBrands’ data, executives with more than fifteen years of experience who work for companies with more than $500 million in annual revenue enjoy the highest base salaries. The following salaries represent the top end of the range for each role.

  1. Chief executive officer: $416,240
  2. Chief financial officer $396,469
  3. President: $368,372
  4. Chief revenue officer: $339,236
  5. Chief marketing officer: $338,195

Bottom five salaries for management roles

The salary guide does not include many entry-level or frontline positions like budtendercultivation technician, or social media coordinator, which is likely a reflection of the types of roles ForceBrands selects for its recruiting efforts. The bottom five salaries represent the lowest range for each role with at least five years of experience.

  1. Production supervisor: $44,747
  2. Accounts receivable lead: $56,192
  3. Executive assistant: $57,233
  4. General manager (dispensary front of house): $60,355
  5. Human resources generalist: $66,598

Largest 3-year salary increases

While it’s no surprise that chief executive officers at the largest companies are awarded the biggest salaries, seeing which roles have increased the most in recent years illustrates exactly where companies are shifting their focus in challenging economic conditions. The following salary ranges represent the current market value for each role across small and large companies.

  • VP of Fulfillment (ecommerce): $181,024 to $226,611
  • Master Grower (C-suite): $107,182 to $210,201
  • Controller (finance): $131,116 to $184,186
  • Brand Manager (marketing): $120,979 to $180,887
  • B2B Sales Manager (sales): $90,52 to $164,415
  • Recruiter (human resources): $83,248 to $104,060
  • Production Supervisor (operations): $44,746 to $70,761

Benefits trends moving into next year

Two out of three employees would leave their job for another with better benefits, and only one in five is “very satisfied” with their benefits package. Unfortunately, what’s important to employees changes with age, making it especially difficult for companies to satisfy everyone with a standard benefits package.

As a general trend, millennials see financial support as the most valuable benefits category, while Gen X and boomers value physical health the most. All age demographics indicated family planning support is the least important consideration in a benefits package.

When it comes to satisfaction across benefits categories, physical health benefits topped the list with 55 percent satisfied with their company’s package. Only 34 percent of respondents were satisfied with the mental-health benefits offered by their employer, and 30 percent reported satisfaction with their company’s professional development program. On the dissatisfied side, professional development topped the list at 49 percent followed by productivity support at 43 percent and financial assistance at 39 percent.

Retaining and attracting the best talent in what Force calls a “still highly competitive labor market” requires benefits that appeal to employee wellness. This is especially important for smaller organizations that can’t compete directly with the benefit packages offered by larger organizations.

Top five health benefits received by a majority of employees

  1. Partially or fully funded medical benefits.
  2. Dental care.
  3. Vision care.
  4. Short-term disability.
  5. Long-term disability.

Top five financial benefits received by a majority of employees

  1. 401K with employer match.
  2. Term life insurance.
  3. 401k without employer match.
  4. Automobile allowance.
  5. Relocation assistance.

ForceBrands recruits for companies operating in the beer, wine, spirits, cannabis, food, beauty, wellness, and non-alcoholic beverages spaces. For the report, the company compiled data from internal job placements made over the past year in twenty-two markets across nineteen states. The average salaries listed do not include variable compensation such as performance-based bonuses or stock options. (Full Story)

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