Part-time employment is much less widespread in Greece than in the rest of the European Union, in contrast to temporary employment, according to a survey published yesterday. More than 90 percent of Greeks are employed full time and only 8.7 percent work part time, much less than the 25-EU average, the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) said in the survey, part of a wider study conducted throughout the EU every five years. Temporary employment in Greece is taken up by 10.3 percent of workers, against an EU average of 7 percent. In industry, in particular, the rate is 10.8 percent. The survey, conducted among a sample of 776 firms employing 96,096 staff in June 2004, gave cautiously optimistic midterm employment projections. Fifty-three percent of enterprises foresaw no change in staff numbers, 30 percent expected to hire more and 17 percent less. Those expecting to reduce staff mainly cited as causes intensifying competition at home and abroad and high production costs. They also had a rather negative outlook of demand, while a small percentage of firms was planning to reduce the number of staff as part of restructuring and rationalization programs. On the basis of the findings, IOBE said we should expect a small rise in employment in the next two years. «The rise will be marked in services and retail commerce, while in industry – particularly in the large concerns where surplus staff is found – there may a slight fall,» the report said. The percentage of firms who view expansion of working hours as boosting their profitability or reducing their costs varies between 30 percent in services and industry to 40 percent in commerce. Greek industrial firms on average operated for 91 hours weekly, against an EU-average of 82. In services, the Greek weekly average was 67 hours, against 51 in the EU, while in commerce it was 64 against 57. Speaking at a presentation, Employment Minister Panos Panayiotopoulos welcomed the report, saying it vindicated the government’s initiatives. He said the government remained socially conscious and claimed that the majority of the public approves of its reforms.