How Language Skills Assessments Impact Business Location Strategy Decisions

Authored by: Mitch R. Confesor

Versant Benefiting Global Businesses in Outsourcing/Offshoring, Nearshoring

Throughout the years, language skills assessment tests have greatly helped the operations and structures of global business services/shared services companies (GBS/SSCs) as well as business process management (BPM) organizations around the world.

In fact, Versant delivers global reach and appeal as it covers over 100 countries, while Pearson, together with TDS Global Solutions, have successfully conducted over 350 million tests for over the last 20 years.

Versant language skills assessment tests have proven useful in assessing proficiency for multiple languages such as:



Arabic, and


…aside from the four key human skill areas of writing, speaking, listening and reading English.

And aside from being AI-powered and 100% automated, Versant assessment results are fast, available within minutes with quantitative scores quickly available online.

Reducing cost per hire

Which is why global businesses benefit with this type of efficiency and speed, helping reduce the time they spend for recruitment and saving them on cost per hire. Moreover, its algorithmic process is fair and virtually error-free, promptly delivering accurate, reliable results.

Versant has facilitated global companies in their recruitment and selection processes, especially contact centers, IT and business outsourcing industries.

The Versant Writing Test has become an efficient agent-screening tool for businesses’ email and chat campaigns, as a result improving the customer experience and delivering more efficient customer service.

After all, in today’s global economy, English has been the primary language not just in business, but in international diplomacy, science and technology. This is especially helpful for non-native English speakers involved in conference calls, sending emails and chat messages, and communicating via social media and omni-channel platforms.

Linguistic Capabilities

call center employee after passing a language skills assessments test

In the Deloitte 2019 Global Shared Services Survey, 59% of SSCs are already capable of delivering broad global coverage.

Meanwhile, 46% of these SSCs support three or more global functions, with 63% supporting two or more. A broader GBS functional scope already heightens the need to find good, efficient talent (like BPO agents), or those with wide-ranging functional and linguistic capabilities.

Now, language skills assessment tools as beneficial and functional as Versant, can assist global businesses to narrow down their choice not just of talented agents, but of viable hub locations especially for their human workforce.

With cost reduction important for GBS/SSCs (also called Captive Centers, or captives), Versant can definitely help these companies in functioning as cost-efficiently while as qualitatively as possible.

By having efficient language assessment tools at their disposal, it facilitates executive-level decisions and considerations when it comes to answering the following questions:

  1. What trends will have the greatest impact on my GBS delivery footprint?
  2. What is the right operating model for my business?
  3. How many captive centers do I need, and where?
  4. How should service center location decisions be made?

Language Skills Assessments Can Determine If You Go Offshoring or Nearshoring.

Will you go outsourcing, nearshoring, onshoring, rightshoring, rightsourcing, or even homesourcing?

glass globe on keyboard with Service key

The most important thing for GBS/SSC operations is how to conduct the best due diligence and market entry planning ahead of a location decision.

Aside from carefully evaluating the services they plan to deliver immediately, as well as medium-to-long term, GBS/SSCs must consider the need for effective English speakers and company talent.

That helps further strengthen a company brand, establish the right corporate culture, and ultimately attract and retain employees in an increasingly tight and challenging human resources and talent acquisition market.

Market Entry, Location Selection

One offshore location may have the right physical infrastructure and able workforce, based on age and labor cost. But market entry, site selection and location decisions must also go hand in hand with addressing significant language skills gap to secure a future-ready and evolved workforce.

A good location must have a high percentage of talent with technical, cognitive and language skills necessary for GBS/SSC and tech startups. In addition, a location needs the workforce to have so-called “new-age skills” like AI and machine learning, data science and mobile app development.

The global business community, especially in non-native English speaking countries, have long wanted to improve the practical English skills of their students to compete on the world stage.

In fact, many of these business leaders believe that traditional university entrance exams do not emphasize practical English skills. For them, private testing firms can do better in helping students become proficient, or even fluent, in English, the global language of business.

For business and academic world, Versant may be a welcome and positive development, with its strongest core of assessing writing, speaking, reading and listening skills of job candidates and students.

The Versant English 4 Skills test measures all four key skills, allowing you to evaluate a job candidate’s aptitude for productive language skills such as speaking and writing, as well as receptive skills of listening and reading.


globe with communication lines eminating from asia

US locations typically have higher costs that go with setting up businesses onshore in terms of labor wages, site rents, taxes, utility bills, and insurances. This is especially true when comparing outsourcing in Asia or Eastern Europe, or nearshoring in Latin America.

US facilities, however, have the distinct advantage of typically delivering better service quality, especially with native English speakers for English-speaking customers. For those considering onshore locations statewide, there have been over 150 projects resulting in almost 50,000 jobs, according to Site Selection Group and Destination CRM.

For the first time since 1970, according to the industry coalition Reshoring Initiative, reshoring in 2016 generated more manufacturing jobs in America compared to offshoring. In 2017, officials announced a record 170,000 manufacturing jobs in the US. By 2018, at least 1,389 companies had a total of 145,000 jobs onshore.

No matter what a global business or captive center chooses as the right model for its organizational benefit, efficient English skills language assessment tools like Versant will serve as a companion solution for its executive search and talent requirements.

After all, agility and scalability are crucial in choosing the most efficient model for the business, whether through rightshoring, nearshoring, onshoring or outsourcing.

Contact or call us today, for how Versant can help you find the perfect fit for your talent requirements and business model needs.