Meager employment opportunities have led Iraqi university graduates holding doctoral and master’s degrees to despair, as they pursue fruitless searches for jobs in government ministries and the private sector.
In Babil province Feb. 3, some 200 unemployed university graduates attended a seminar in Murdoch Hall in Babil’s tourist resort. Also in attendance were the parliamentarian Haitham al-Jubouri as well as representatives from the Ministry of Higher Education and civil society organizations. The seminar included discussions about how to improve employment opportunities in Iraq.
Shabib al-Midhati, who has a master’s degree in the plastic arts, told Al-Monitor at the seminar, “After my trip to the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education where I was looking for a job, I felt that it won’t be easy [to find work] especially in light of the financial crisis the country is going through.”
Mohammed Alaa, who hails from Baghdad and is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Baghdad, told Al-Monitor, “Such meetings no longer work, as they mostly lead to promises that will not be kept. These are promises made for political campaigns only.” He stated, “The scarce opportunities are first and foremost given to the relatives and acquaintances of politicians and officials.”
On the sidelines of the seminar, Saad Hassan, who has a master’s in education, said that bribery “is the nearest road to appointment” and admitted that he had “paid around $3,000 to a broker in order to get a teaching job.”
Iraqis with bachelor’s and postgraduate degrees as well as graduates of institutes are actively organizing protests to compel the government to create job opportunities. Dozens of unemployed graduates demonstrated Feb. 3 in front of the provincial council building in Najaf, carrying banners demanding employment.