Competitive advantage from international operations – Comatec is making a research about good working life practices in different countries


Comatec Group provides design, project management and expert services for the technology and mechanical engineering industries in Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Poland and Romania. To boost its position in the international labour market, Comatec has started a project to study working life practices.

Entering the international market is nothing new to the engineering company from Tampere, Finland, as it opened its first overseas unit in Romania two decades ago. Comatec later expanded into Estonia in 2011 and Poland in 2016.

Research into differences in working life

To boost its international competitiveness, Comatec is currently running a project to learn about the specific features of labour legislation and practices in Estonia, Poland and Romania, including the company’s established operating and management practices in these countries. The project is led by Lasse Mitronen, Professor of Practice at Tampere University.

– Our goal with the study is to identify work relationship and employment term differences in these countries, including good working life principles based on voluntary action. We will use the results to help define the group’s common operating practices that facilitate growth and development. I consider it valuable and also crucial for the company’s success that we study these matters systematically, as it also shows that Comatec is keen to be at the forefront in terms of corporate social responsibility, says Mitronen.

Competence development is key

The study supports Comatec’s strategy, one part of which is competence development. As an expert organisation, Comatec operates in a number of rapidly developing industries, and evolvement of the competence of the human capital has been identified as a core factor for future success.

In addition to developing the competence of existing experts, Comatec is also keen to attract fresh blood into the company. If the content of a job is approximately the same in competing companies, the factors that tip the balance in a recruitment process may be the company values, rewards and general work practices.

– This study enables us to create good common working life practices in Comatec that complement country-specific rules and principles. Working life practices in Finland are relatively flexible and the management hierarchies low, which surely increase Comatec’s attractiveness as an employer also abroad. And I have no doubt that there are good practices abroad that we could adopt too, says Mitronen.

International operations to help find more experts

Comatec’s original goal with international operations was to provide its customers with a range of planning expertise at competitive prices. Business Unit Manager Sami Rajala was involved in starting up Comatec’s operations in Romania in 2004, and he considers that country a natural choice as a nearshore location.

– Romania has plenty of industry, good universities and a population of some 19 million, so there is plenty of skilled labour available. Some 25,000 engineers graduate annually in Romania, compared to the Finnish figure of about 7,500. Having international operations increases our competitiveness – especially now, as there is beginning to be a shortage of experts in certain fields, Rajala says.

Customers value flexibility

Comatec’s plan is to expand its operations in Europe in particular. In addition to the high availability of skilled labour, working culture can be considered to be relatively uniform within Europe, and time zone differences present only minor challenges.

– I feel we can serve our customers equally well and quickly regardless of whether our designers work in one of our numerous offices in Finland, or in Tallinn, Wrocław or Braşov. Any design and other expert work can be performed in today’s world just fine remotely, thanks to data connections and modern digital tools, says Rajala.

According to Rajala, the greatest benefit of the nearshore to customers is flexibility.

– Our designers in Finland have often been allocated for months ahead to work on a specific customer project, while in our Romanian unit it is much easier to shift designers from one project to another. Work tends to be hectic these days, and thanks to our international expert network, we can meet our customers’ needs quickly without compromising on quality, he says.


Our Nearshore offices share similar work culture, expertise level and time zone with Finland and with modern design tools and methods the cooperation is as seamless as working with the office in next door.
– Country Manager Esko Aura, Comatec Estonia OÜ and Comatec Engineering S.R.L.


The benefits for customers using nearshore cooperation are undeniable: much greater access to the necessary expertise and resources, greater flexibility and still a competitive price for the same quality.
– Managing Director Elzbieta Helminen, Comatec Poland Sp. z o.o.


The article was published in Tekniikka & Talous 8.3.2024.