Key Construction Management Skills for Future Success

Construction management (CM) graduates are employed in various organisations in the construction industry. These include building and civil engineering contracting, project management consulting, construction and project management consulting, client organisations (public and private) and developer organisations. Considering the diversity of employment opportunities for CM graduates, they need to have the necessary skills to be able to work effectively and efficiently with other professions in the industry. The objective of the research presented in this paper was to determine if CM graduates were meeting the expectations of their employers. Bearing in mind the dynamic forces impacting the industry, can CMs identify key skills needed for future success? Are CM graduates meeting the expectations of contractors? This information is critical for the successful formulation of curricula. To answer these questions, a questionnaire survey was distributed to CMs in contracting organisations regarding their expectations and observations of recent CM graduates. The survey is analysed and the results discussed. The results of the survey indicate that managers are generally satisfied with the skill level of CM graduates. Several important skills that were considered to be lacking in CM graduates were also identified. Acknowledging that there is always a need to improve the skill level of graduates, recommendations for improving the content CM curricula are proposed.