A survey of technology executives found 54 percent are either hiring now or plan to hire over the next three months.

Of those, 93 percent predicted demand for senior talent at their organization will either remain steady or increase over the next three to six months, according to the search firm that sponsored the survey, Massachusetts-based Polachi Inc.

The most important skill in the sights of these executives: leadership during challenging times. That was more important than domain expertise, an ability to wear multiple hats at once, new business development, and international experience.

The survey also revealed considerable belt tightening among senior executives over the last six months. Nearly 80 percent have reduced discretionary spending, 58 percent have instituted temporary salary freezes, and 23.5 percent halted bonuses to senior executives.

Yes, the numbers seem pretty optimistic. How come? Reporting on the survey, The Wall Street Journal  writes:

How can this be possible, when Yahoo, Microsoft, and others are laying off employees in droves? Charley Polachi, a partner at Polachi, says that the companies surveyed ranged from small startups to larger cap firms, many of which are private and do not have to report back to shareholders, granting them a bit of leeway with the ups and downs of the market. "Smaller cap companies can go down faster, but can also come back faster," he explains. "So the corrective measures that they've needed to take, they've taken, and now they're starting to head in the other direction."

The survey was distributed in mid-April and completed by 122 senior executives at small-to-medium-sized technology companies throughout the U.S.

-- Mark Feffer