Your article outlining the current recruitment problems in Essex (9 September, page 110) failed to mention three other developments that will “make high demands upon the local construction industry”. These are the Thames and Haven Gateways projects, both of which provide for thousands of homes and huge industrial and commercial development – and that little thing called the 2012 Olympics.

The companies for whom we manage training and development, which are mainly medium-sized contractors and housebuilders, are wondering in the face of the present recruitment problems, what will it be like in two or three years when those projects all really get going?

My only answer is that they must do everything to retain their existing and future staff so that they see a long-term future staying with their company.

However, for many of the old school managing directors still in the industry, this goes against the grain because they still live in the times when you just hired and fired at will – or, more correctly, if anyone disagreed with you. I am amazed at the number who still work in this way but heartened by the fact that, unless they change soon, they probably won’t have a business in the next five years because they won’t have anyone who wants to work for them.

Tony Willson, managing director, Helmsman, Colchester