Labour Market Opportunities And Challenges

13 September, 2021


Following the end of hostilities against ISIL, the return of 1.6 million Iraqis is threatened by the large presence of harsh conditions in areas of return. The work of Return and Recovery Unit within IOM Iraq supports the Government to improve conditions for sustainable recovery across 15 governorates and support a resolution to the displacement crisis in Iraq. Interventions include the rehabilitation of community infrastructure, livelihood assistance, and community engagement.

IOM’s community engagement model has been refined through an interactive learning process and relies on stakeholder consultation throughout the design of sustainable livelihood activities. Recognizing that the private sector is an engine for growth, IOM works to create inclusive markets at the individual, community and institutional level.

To design market-led development interventions, and support partners with timely, accurate information on market conditions, a series of Labour Market Assessments (LMAs) were conducted in locations in Iraq. The LMAs are based on individual interviews and focus group discussions. Survey tools included a mix of quantitative and qualitative exercises, conducted with key informants, jobseekers, youth, consumers, and employers.

IOM’s LMA data aggregated at a national level indicates that among surveyed respondents:

  • About 70% of jobseekers would have preferred to run their own business, which points to a preference for entrepreneurship.
  • Jobseekers would overall prefer to receive livelihoods assistance in the form of cash (74%)
  • When asked whether there were any jobs they would not like to perform, only 5.7% of jobseekers thought so.
  • Among the skilled workers, the average salary in NLAs amounted to USD 289 and 460 in non-NLA. Among the unskilled, the salaries amounted to USD 158 in NLAs and 263 in non-NLAs.
  • Hospitality, construction, food, and manufacturing paid among the highest salaries. The difference is statistically significant. Agricultural businesses were significantly more likely to report good demand
  • Examples of female involvement in the economy as provided by key informants, mostly included the food sector (sweets and other types of food preparation, especially from home); the services sector, including hairdressing, beauty salons but also photography and ‘wedding services’; textile, including tailoring and sewing; and trade, especially in retail of women's clothing and cosmetics. Women also contribute to the agriculture and livestock sectors, including cattle breeding along dairy and honey production
  • Conflict affected areas are not found to be more likely to use word of mouth as a recruitment mechanism, but the construction and textile industry are.
  • Informal consumer credit is most commonly used In the metal sector and in businesses with poor demand
  • Employers in districts in border governorates are significantly more likely to have good demand, not have issues with client debts, and use more formal hiring practices

With sub-offices across Iraq, jointly managed Community Resource Centers, and a presence within the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs sub-offices, IOM has a field presence that allows for a community-driven approach to recovery and development.

Please see below to view the published assessments:

2019 2020 2021 - New and Repeat Areas