Private-sector salaries are expected to rise at a faster pace this year compared to the previous year across most of the GCC countries, and Oman is leading the field, where employees are expected to enjoy an average pay increase of 8 per cent . The 2014 edition of Employment and Salary Trends  in the Gulf, released Monday by the online recruitment firm, GulfTalent, shows that Saudi Arabia has the second-highest salary growth rate, with a projected average increase of 6.8 per cent, followed by Qatar at 6.7 per cent and the United Arab Emirates at 5.9 per cent. Kuwait and Bahrain are forecast to have the region's lowest salary increases, projected at 5.8 per cent and 3.9 per cent respectively. While these salary increases are higher than the previous year , they continue to be below the levels seen before the economic crisis. Employment growth Also, 2014 will be a year of stronger employment growth and higher salary rises , according to the survey. Saudi Arabia was the leader in job creation in 2013, with 62 per cent of companies increasing their head count last year. The Kingdom was followed by the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Broken down into sectors, health care topped the table, with 80 per cent of companies having created jobs in 2013, driven by heavy government investment in the sector and more countries making health insurance mandatory for employers. Telecom and retail sectors competed for second position. Gulf Talent's survey also found that across the GCC countries, more companies expect to increase their head count in 2014 compared to last year. Some 75 per cent of companies in Qatar will create jobs this year. The positive development is primarily due to the execution of major infrastructure projects gathering momentum, partly in preparation for the 2022 World Cup. Next in line are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, with 63 per cent and 57 per cent of companies looking to create jobs, respectively. Even companies in Bahrain are showing signs of improvement in job creation as the political situation stabilises further: 30 per cent of companies expect to increase their head count, compared with only 9 per cent in 2013. Hospitality and retail Hospitality and retail will dominate job growth in 2014. Some 61 per cent of companies in the hospitality sector are planning to increase their head count, as they expect 2014 to be a year of growth for the industry. As regards the retail sector, 57 per cent of firms will create jobs, driven by the region's rapid population growth and the increasing penetration of retail outlets in more remote locations. According to the report, UAE has further strengthened its position as the prime destination for expatriates in the GCC. Optimism about the country's future has increased following Dubai's economic recovery and successful bid for hosting the 2020 Expo. Expatriates also continue to value the UAE's stability. Not surprisingly, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the region's most attractive cities, followed by Qatar's capital, Doha. Bahrain, on the other hand, remains the least attractive destination for expatriates. The survey is based on an online survey of 800 employers and 34,000 professionals, as well as 60 interviews with executives and HR professionals.