Autonomy, work environment, and advancement opportunities are more important than salary when it comes to an executive's decision to leave a company, according to a global survey of 3,000 executives conducted by Net Future Institute. More than 90% of respondents told the U.S.-based think tank that "autonomy, challenge, and flexibility" are very important to them personally when choosing whether to defect or remain in a job. The company's environment -- management, co-workers, and culture -- also were ranked higher than salary considerations. Regarding salary, the surveyed executives did cite its importance in the retention of other employees. Salary was cited by 37.9% as the most common reason why valued employees leave, followed by long-term career growth and the corporate environment; 24.3% felt the most effective way to retain employees was with a pay increase. "While it is essential not to downplay the importance of salary in employee retention, clearly other factors are at work," says Chuck Martin, Net Future Institute chairman and CEO. Martin says employee retention will be a major factor for business in the "new economy."