March 23, 2023

Iraqi youth and employers connect at SPARK’s Job Fairs

Despite local efforts to revitalise Iraq’s economy, many fresh graduates struggle to find employment in the country’s challenging job market. At SPARK, we pledge our efforts in paving the paths of employability for the youth and supporting job creation in Iraq. To bridge the gap between the private sector and graduates, we organised two job fairs that attracted over 1,300 attendees.

Job projections 

Both the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I) and Iraqi governments continue to make investments in the private sector. Through initiatives that support startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Aiming to create a cohesive labour ecosystem that fosters job creation and provides sustainability for new graduates. Even through these continuous efforts, job market opportunities remain limited in Iraq. Employers tend to prioritise years of work experience, narrowing job chances for new graduates. High levels of unemployment and the scarcity of entry-level opportunities are forcing fresh graduates to seek chances outside their majors or in low-wage jobs. By continually developing new methods to demonstrate the labour market to new graduates, at SPARK, we aim to bring talented youth into the spotlight and improve their job projections.

On site interviews – Iraq, Mosul ©Danyal D. Habeeb/SPARK 2023
On site job interviews – Iraq, Mosul ©Danyal D. Habeeb/SPARK 2023

New chances to connect

With funding from the European Union through the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, the ‘MADAD’ fund, SPARK initiated two job fairs in the cities of Mosul and Erbil. The events showcased the prospects of professional growth in the Iraqi community through local SMEs, factories, international and local non-governmental organisations (I/NGOs), and government entities.

“Regularly, it takes us months to fill one vacancy. It is very challenging to reach people with the right skills. We received many CVs at the job fair and provided guidance for these youth on how to improve their job prospects.” – Luqman Sedeeq, CEO of Maydan, Erbil Job Fair

The fairs presented an opportunity for job seekers to connect with potential employers. Through in-person interactions and knowledge exchange, students and graduates explored the requirements of the labour market in terms of skills, capacities, and options.

Governmental entities, representatives from higher education and SPARK team at Erbil Job Fair - Iraq, Erbil ©SPARK 2023

1300 attendees and 500 opportunities

The Mosul Job Fair took place on February 23rd at the Northern Technical University. With 600 students and fresh graduates attending, the Head of the University, Dr. Alia Al-Attar, honoured the event, and 40 companies from various sectors offered over 300 job opportunities. Similarly, on March 1st, the Erbil Job Fair was held at the gardens of the Engineering College in cooperation with Salahddin University, gaining the attention of 720 students and graduates. 36 companies came together at the fair to present more than 200 job opportunities, training, and guidance to the youth. The fair was also attended by governmental and international entities, including Erbil’s Governor Omed Khoshnaw and the Deputy Consul General of the Netherlands, highlighting the event’s importance as a valuable resource for those seeking employment in Erbil.

Guidance on improving personal resume – Iraq, Mosul ©Danyal D. Habeeb/spark 2023
Guidance on improving personal resume – Iraq, Mosul ©Danyal D. Habeeb/SPARK 2023

Both job fairs attracted a diverse range of companies. Educational institutions, IT and electronics companies, I/NGOS, engineering firms, and advertisement companies were present at the fairs. In Mosul, the educational sector as well as IT and electronics showed a major presence, together making up half of the attending companies. The numbers promote educational institutions as possible vendors for job opportunities in the city. 

Erbil Job Fair had a more coherent variety, with an even number of attendees from each industry. This suggests a broader range of possible job opportunities in Erbil, with each sector drawing comparable interest from investors and job seekers.

“I submitted my CV to several companies at the job fair. I hope graduates will get the same chance in the future.” -Northern Technical University Student, Mosul Job Fair

The job fairs shed light on new prospects and needs in the Iraqi job market, attracting over 1300 attendees. Local students and graduates expressed a high demand to connect with the private sector, and the job fairs provided valuable opportunities for them to explore labour market requirements and in-demand skills. Additionally, the job fairs opened new doors for companies and institutions to connect with talented individuals and explore a wide range of skills and capacities that could support their businesses. Many companies have expressed difficulty finding the right expertise, and these events offer a new bridge to connect the private sector with graduates and students.

In continuation of our mission at SPARK, we focus on local capacities and encourage the engagement of different sectors. Together with our local partners, we are committed to continue to serve as a link between different stakeholders to come together for a strong job market in Iraq.

Erbil Job Fair

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