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. Many contractors from the United States are involved in the country’s infrastructure rebuilding, and Westerners will often have jobs prior to arriving in Iraq.  

As the country is being rebuilt, there are many great investment opportunities. Business people 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, and there is therefore a lot of scope for the country to expand its oil revenue.

The country’s construction industry is where the highest number of expat jobs can be found, 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 arrive in 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 expatcareers.com and GulfTalent. Newspapers such as the Kurdish Globe and Iraq Today, the latter of which is in English, may also be useful resources.

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 in Iraq. Business proceedings are also very formal, and the concept of saving face or protecting ones honour in 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’s only by operating with a degree of cultural sensitivity that international businesspeople will be able to enhance their business experiences in Iraq.