Demand for executives is slowing -- and MIS/IT demand has fallen far from 1997's top growth ranking -- says Exec-U-Net's 4th-quarter 1998 Executive Market Demand Index study of job listings. Overall growth of executive demand slowed to 19% in 1998 -- from well over 30% in 1997 -- reflecting the slower economy and economic uncertainties, says the study by the Norwalk, Conn. center for executive careers. Fourth-quarter IT growth was 12%, compared with 1997's average of 58%. By job function, consulting led with 29% growth. Finance grew 22%, sales/marketing and general management 17%. Demand in operations management and human resources declined. By sector, manufacturing showed weakness with static demand; natural resources/base materials declined. Retail/distribution grew 28%, financial services 26%, pharmaceuticals/healthcare 21%, high tech 16%, business services 14%, and media/creative 11%. Geographically, the West Coast and Southwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic were strong, but growth in the Midwest and South/Southeast slowed -- probably paralleling slowness in manufacturing. Meanwhile, as the "war for talent" intensifies, growth in $200K-plus executive jobs continues at 51%.