Due to ongoing tensions, expats moving to Iraq are generally those with secure job offers already in place. Expats often place emphasis on salary when looking for work abroad, and the money offered to Westerners in Iraq will therefore certainly make this country more of an attractive option.  

As the country is being rebuilt, there are many great investment opportunities. Businesspeople from across the globe are expressing the desire to capitalise on the potential of the Iraqi economy.

Job market in Iraq

Although it did take a blow from the effects of the war, one of the most prominent industries in Iraq has always been oil. Iraq has been receiving new contracts from major oil companies in recent years, so there is a lot of scope for the country to expand its oil revenue.

The country’s construction industry is another major generator of employment, particularly for expats, as the country is in a period of rebuilding. Other sectors, such as healthcare, also offer a range of jobs.

As in many countries, English teachers are sought after, and interpreting is a viable option for expats who are fluent in Arabic, Kurdish and English.

Finding a job in Iraq

Expats working in Iraq generally arrive in the country having already secured an employment contract. It is not recommended for expats to move to Iraq with the intention of trying to find work. All foreigners require a visa to enter Iraq.

There are a number of websites focused on employment for expats in Iraq. A good starting point is sites like GulfTalent and Bayt.com. It can also be helpful to join groups for expats in Iraq on social media, as expats on the ground may have information about possible vacancies.

Work culture in Iraq

As a result of tensions in Iraq, there may be some hostility towards foreigners. It is therefore important that businesspeople in Iraq take the time to understand the local culture and etiquette and make efforts to build trust with Iraqi associates.

Business in Iraq is of a hierarchical nature, and expats therefore need to show respect to seniors in the business if they wish to be successful here. Business proceedings are also very formal, and the concept of saving face is valued. Expats should therefore also be careful not to show emotion in business proceedings. 

Those wishing to do business in Iraq will need to make an effort to gain some objective understanding of the Iraqi people. It can be helpful to take a cultural awareness course. It’s only by operating with a degree of cultural sensitivity that international businesspeople will be able to enhance their business experiences in Iraq.