Ra'fa al-Oubaidi, 24, has got bachelor degree with grade A in literature from the University of Kirkuk in 2019 yet she is still jobless waiting for a job opportunity at home.
"There is law of 2017 which states top three of every department in all colleges to be employed yet so far it has not been put into practice. We are at the neck of the bottle and found no chance per our degree."
Law 67 of 2017 by the Iraqi parliament guarantees state employment for the top three graduates of all departments and colleges in institutes and colleges, holding diploma and bachelor degrees.
The International labor Organization ILO said unemployment rate in Iraq has jumped from 9% early 1990s into 13% in 2020 while employment is 35.5%.
Out of 40 million Iraqis, 9.2 million are employed while Iraq's state-dominated economy is led by the oil sector, which provides approximately 85 percent of government revenue. The government pays 400% more in salaries than it did 15 years ago. Around three quarters of the state’s expenditures in 2020 went to paying civil servants of the public sector.
The burden of state employees has pushed the Iraqi government to halt employment, a step which piled hundreds of thousands of graduates and post graduates over the last few years.
Ibrahim Ali was ranked the second in the college of media in the University of Kirkuk. He also have not been employed which forced him to try different jobs to earn his daily pocket money.
"The top tens were immediately employed in the past but per the fiscal austerity, it was reduced to top three and still no one has been hired."
The restriction on employments has included post-graduates with master and doctorate degrees.
Rusul Mahmood, 28, has got master degree in education yet this has not boosted her chance for employment by the state which is suffering at the hands of corruption, economic crisis and covid-19 pandemic aftermath.
The first protest organized by the post-graduates from all over Iraq was in 2018 in front of the ministry of higher education and finance.
On September 25th 2019, counter riot forces fiercely confronted with the protestors calling on PM Adel Abdul-Mahdi for employment in Allawi district downtown of Baghdad. They were beaten and separated by water guns.
Despite the tough reaction, the unemployed has no chance except putting pressure on the government. They are leading a strike in front of Iraqi ministry of finance in Baghdad from early September up today.
"Delay in employing the top graduates and post-graduates is caused by the ministry of finance," said Najdat Faeq, representative of the top graduates of Kirkuk.
Baghdad, September 25th 2019- security forces flood the protestors with water tanks to put an end to the protests asking for employment.
The efforts of the strikers were fruitful. The council of service has declared on September 25th it has allocated 1050 job opportunities for post-graduates per law 59 of 2017.
Three days earlier, it has announced the names of the tops to be employed according to law 67 of 2017 who can apply online for government job opportunities.
The steps were taken following the meeting of the representatives of protestors with seniors of the service council which said it is waiting for budget allocation by ministry of finance in or to determine.
The representatives of the graduates were shocked when Tayif Sami, director general of budget in finance ministry, who told them there is no budget to employ them.
The head of finance committee of the Iraqi parliament has confirmed what council of service declared.
Five years ago, Iraqi parliament has endorsed laws number 59 and 67 to employ the top gradates and post graduates, a light at the end of long tunnel, as the private sector is tumbling due to corruption and dominance of militia rule over rule of law and state.