The modern industry demands news skills from its leaders
Headhunters working in the construction industry are in for another busy year. Contractors are finding that the age of PFI megaprojects - as profitable as they are complex as they are risky - requires a higher level of analytic ability than has been usual in decision-takers. At the same time, the world of integrated project teams and partnered supply chains means that charm is also a preferred quality.

Anybody blessed with both is in for an irritating year: some QSs and contracts managers are receiving calls every week from recruitment agencies. And it's not just the big industry names that are stalking those with the right stuff. Chris Cheetam, regional director of Hays Executive, says expanding middle-range contractors, such as Rok, Styles & Wood and Cowlin Construction, have raised their executives' pay by more than any other groups as they try to attract more staff and retain the ones they have.

The problem is there just aren't enough good managers to go around, and not just in construction. According to a report published in November last year by the International Institute for Management Development, UK managers as a class are poorly qualified and poorly developed. The DTI is so concerned about the problem that it has commissioned an investigation to discover what managers are doing wrong. The results of the research will be published early this year.

Finding quality executives and ensuring a flow of recruits into their businesses are not the only problems confronting managers. There's the shortage of graduates coming into the industry. Last September, the University Central Admissions Services' website reported that all 345 construction-related courses had vacancies.