Home Depot moving white-collar jobs overseas

ATLANTA,None — U.S.  figures show American companies have slashed labor costs by moving millions of manufacturing jobs to China.  A new trend involves many companies moving higher-paying, white-collar positions overseas too.  Many American corporate call centers now are in places like the Philippines and technical jobs are in India.   One example is Channel 2 parent company Cox Enterprises, which uses overseas call center for some customer service questions.

Now, U.S. firms are quietly moving high-paying accounting, finance and human resource jobs offshore.

National labor statistics reveal that in the past 10 years,  American companies have slashed 2.9 million jobs in the United States.  At the same time, they have created 2.4 million jobs for people overseas.

Local companies, like Home Depot, are among them.  The company built an international chain from one store in Atlanta.  Now it's moving white collar jobs offshore.

Channel 2 Action News has reported in recent years that Home Depot has laid off thousands of workers, including hundreds at its worldwide corporate headquarters in Vinings in Cobb County.  At the same time, it's hiring hundreds of workers thousands of miles away.


Federal Labor Department records show Home Depot has moved jobs from Vinings to India.

Companies usually keep outsourcing details a secret, but two Home Depot executives taped a testimonial posted online for the outsourcing company in India now is handling some of their accounting functions.

On the testimonial, one executive said, "Really what I was looking for was the same thing at less cost."

Another executive appeared to claim that workers offshore are more competent, saying, "They manage our processes much better.  They do the processes better than we would have ever done them here."

Home Depot declined a Channel 2 Action News request for an interview.   It did send a statement that said, in part, "The number of contractors our third parties employ to handle our outsourced work accounts for less than one half of one percent of our total workforce."

It also stated, "The Home Depot adds some 20,000 jobs to the Metro Atlanta workforce, and we will continue to do everything possible to add more jobs in the years to come.  In fact, The Home Depot is one of the few companies that has added net new jobs over the past two years."

Channel 2 Action News also asked Home Depot for a comment about the testimonial.  The statement claimed the executives didn't mean overseas workers do a better job.

"Our remarks have nothing to do with whether a contractor is located in India, the U.S. or anywhere else," the statement read.

Local critics of outsourcing are upset with Home Depot.

"I think Georgians who go to Home Depot to purchase materials would be offended to know that Home Depot is sending jobs to India and laying off people in Vinings," said State Sen. Nan Orock.

Not only are jobs going overseas, so is personal financial information.  Atlanta-based Equifax is routing calls and credit files to an overseas contractor in places like Jamaica, Costa Rica or the Philippines. Equifax is sending more than just credit card information there.  It’s also sending credit histories and social security numbers.

Equifax also turned down a Channel 2 Action News request for an interview, but did release a statement.

"Equifax operates in 17 countries to meet the needs of our consumer and business customers around the world," the statement read.  "With respect to servicing U.S. consumers, we utilize Equifax personnel inside and outside the United States and supplement Equifax personnel with the assistance of third-party providers where needed."

"Whether the personnel are Equifax employees or not, we work with partners who are leaders in their field," the statement continued.  "All are given the same training and continuous monitoring to ensure they maintain the rigorous standards Equifax expects of all personnel who handle consumer data."

Atlanta labor leaders said they have a message for companies sending jobs overseas.

"I say shame on you," said Charlie Flemming with the AFL-CIO.  "It's time to bring jobs back to America.  It's time to get our economy going."

Channel 2 also contacted Home Depot's largest competitor, Lowe's about its outsourcing practices, click here for the company's response.