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How To Price Jobs In Emerging Industries

In this post, we’ll explore the growth of emerging industries, and then dip into questions employers in these industries are likely facing. This blog post is an excerpt from our e-book Jobs In Emerging Industries: The Growth of New Industries, and the Job Creation That Comes With Them. Download your copy here.

Today, thanks to changes in laws and advances in technology, new and burgeoning industries are reshaping the economy, even as established industries – some that have been economic and employment powerhouses for more than a century – are contracting or disappearing entirely.

Among these industries are Renewable Energy, Virtual and Augmented Reality, and Recreational Cannabis. And as these industries arise, the jobs and skills that power them are materializing and evolving at an equal pace, meaning there may soon be millions of jobs that didn’t exist until, basically, now.

That’s potentially great news for job hunters. But if you’re an employer in an unprecedented industry, where do you find employees with these cutting-edge skills? They’re likely few and far between. And that likely means they’re in high demand. And if they’re in high demand, how do you build a competitive compensation strategy that attracts, motivates, and retains the best and brightest employees you can find?

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New Kids on the Block

Six years after Colorado become the first state to legalize the sale of cannabis, the product is now  legal in eight states, with sales of legal cannabis in North America totaling roughly $10 billion in 2017 — a 33 percent increase over 2016 — and the market is expected to reach $24.5 billion by 2021. And that assumes no additional states beyond the current eight legalize marijuana!

“We find there is an overwhelming interest in working in the cannabis sector,” says Alison McMahon, Founder and CEO of Cannabis at Work, Canada’s leading source of information on cannabis jobs, recruitment services, online industry training, and workplace impairment training. (Cannabis is on track to become legal nationwide in Canada by July 2018.)

“People see the growth opportunity that comes with cannabis legalization,” says McMahon. “Much like the alcohol industry, people perceive it as ‘recession proof.’

So, you take… Bitcoin?

The solar energy industry is on a similar tear, and the virtual and augmented reality industry isn’t far behind. These industries – and more – are growing at an incredible rate. But here’s the problem; Given they’re so new, many of the skills needed to succeed within these industries are also very new. And that means finding prospective employees with experience in these fields can be challenging, to say the least.

And given there’s little precedent for compensation in your brand-new industry … what do you pay to attract, motivate, and retain these unicorns (or, as we call them at PayScale, Purple Squirrels)?

Consider that while the job titles in your industry may be new, that doesn’t mean there aren’t comparable jobs that require comparable skills in other industries. And you might be able to set salary ranges for these new jobs by basing them upon the “bag of skills,” instead of the title.

To learn more about compensation strategy in emerging industries, read our report, Jobs In Emerging Industries: The Growth of New Industries, and the Job Creation That Comes With Them


Are you an employer in an emerging industry? What unique issues are you facing? We want to hear from you. Share your story in the comments.

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