More organizations are expecting to increase employee headcount, rather than decrease in the next 12 months, according to a new study from NFI Research. In a global survey of business leaders, 26 percent of senior execs and managers said they expected hirings to rise, while half said they believe their employment numbers will remain the same.

“The good news is that more businesses see an increase rather than a decrease in overall headcount,” Chuck Martin, CEO of New Hampshire-based NFI Research said in a release.

Growing optimism does seem to be a growing trend. Earlier this week, The Conference Board reported that while September’s online job vacancies were down in the U.S., it hadn’t wiped out gains made since April, the worst month of 2009. CareerCast.com / JobSerf tracked a similar story, and CareerBuilder reported that employers expected to stay at about the same headcount through the end of the year. 

According to NFI, more execs in larger companies (10,000 or more employees) expect to increase their workforce than do execs in smaller companies (500 or fewer employees).

Not everyone was optimistic, however. Of the large companies, 26 percent of execs expect an increase while 30 percent predicted an overall decrease. And among execs in smaller businesses, 26 percent anticipated an increase while 30 percent expect headcount to decrease over the next year.

NFI Research surveys 2,000 senior executives and managers globally every two weeks. The news release.