During the past four months another three international large enterprises have announced locating their support centres in Estonia. Even more new comers are expected this year as foreign enterprises are attracted by the local educated labour force, business daily Äripäev writes.
Today the IT development and innovation centre of the international financial enterprise arvato Financial Solutions will open in Tallinn, last December the global IT enterprise HCL Technologies introduced its Tallinn development centre and last October Nordea Bank announced basing the support services unit of the group in Estonia during the coming spring. These examples only date back to the last four months, yet Estonia has been favoured among the world’s large enterprises as a location for support units for a while now and it seems the popularity of Estonia is only increasing.
Agnes Makk who holds the position of CEO of arvato Estonia from last November states that in the case of arvato Financial Solutions the choice was made in favour of Estonia due to the developed financial services market, success of the e-government and cultural suitability. The German-born enterprise also considered other Eastern European nations for their IT development centre, yet according to Makk Estonia was favoured partially due to the work of Enterprise Estonia even considering the local labour force is no longer the cheapest one available.
“Enterprise Estonia was contacted in order to find out what Estonia has to offer. Although other similar agencies in Eastern Europe were also contacted, Estonia clearly stood out among the competition. The difference with other former Soviet nations was immense. The welcome was warm, the communication fast, they felt a cultural suitability and emphasised our Scandinavian-like thinking,” Makk adds.
Head of the Estonian Investment Agency of Enterprise Estonia Indrek Pällo says their role comprised of introducing the Estonian services and development centre sector as well as connecting arvato Financial Solutions with the parties necessary for developing the centre. According to Pällo, Enterprise Estonia did not provide any direct financial support to the enterprise.
Pällo also adds they are currently coopering with several new comers in addition to arvato Financial Solutions, however these enterprises are not yet ready to make any public announcements. “The level of maturity of the Estonian services and development centre sector is characterised by most of current projects being directed at creating or expanding support services units of industrial and production groups in Estonia,” he comments.
100 people in three years
arvato Financial Solutions that operates under the international media group Bertelsmann is itself a group of nine enterprises that provides various financial services to the other enterprises. The Estonian support centre will provide IT development and innovation services to the enterprises of the group. All services will be exported; the Estonian unit will mainly be cooperating with Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.
“Our goal is to provide IT support to businesses. When talking about the payment business, the process is extremely dynamic as providing very fast IT solutions may be necessary and occasionally it might make more sense to provide these in cooperation with another Estonian enterprise. It is our job to find a suitable solution,” Makk says.
The enterprise is planning to hire 100 people in three years. They are aware of labour scarcity, yet Makk evaluates the plan of hiring 30-35 highly qualified IT specialists a year as a realistic goal. “People tend to explore the market and look for new challenges. If we do not find a sufficient amount of people in Estonia, we are willing to hire from our neighbouring countries,” she adds. The requirements of the enterprise are relatively demanding – they are looking for experienced .NET and Java developers, team leaders and quality leaders and, first and foremost, senior specialists who possess good communication skills in addition to been skilled with the computer.
In order to ensure necessary labour force, the enterprise will follow Makk’s proposal of cooperating with Tallinn University of Technology to offer students internships. The employees will also be giving lectures at the university, providing research areas for theses and participating in career fairs.
Nordea’s plans still to be announced
The first employees of the Nordea Operations Centre Tallinn support centre started work this week.
The centre will offer support for services and processes related to bank products to all commercial entities and functions of Nordea Group in addition to the existing support services unit in Poland.
According to Head of Communications at Nordea Estonia Jane-Liina Liiv, the number of future positions as well as the amount to be invested in the Tallinn unit has not yet been confirmed. “The support services unit of Nordea Group has only started and time will tell how much we can expand. The main investments are related to ensuring technical readiness and to people,” Liiv says.
The support centre is hiring those capable of acquiring knowledge fast, are solution-oriented and have good command of a Scandinavian language. According to Liiv, Nordea Estonia offers a competitive wage as well as various benefits.
Although Nordea and arvato have not received financial support from Enterprise Estonia, the foundation has supported the establishment of numerous other enterprises: Tieto, Kühne+Nagel, Opus Capita, and Ramirent. A total of nine enterprises have been supported via measures of support services and development centres. Pällo also mentions a new measure for directing international enterprises towards Estonia when choosing a location for expanding.
“This time we are promoting establishing support services and development centres outside Tallinn. We can already provide excellent examples of enterprises who have established their units outside Tallinn. Danpower operates in Võru and Jeld-Wen in Rakvere. Why not create centres in Narva, Pärnu or Haapsalu?” Pällo explains.