Sector skills council Lantra has found that 73 per cent of vacancies in horticultural trades and 43 per cent in gardening and grounds-keeping are difficult to fill. A quarter of those positions remain vacant because of a lack of candidates with the appropriate skills.
The report also emphasised the fact that the UK's food security could be under threat because of the shortage of skilled workers in agriculture and horticulture.
Lantra's skills assessment research is based on a comprehensive review of changes in the sector and of evidence that has emerged over the past year. The report sets out the skills gaps and shortages of the current workforce and also identifies the skills needed by the industry through to 2017.
Lantra was expected to present its research to MPs during a meeting on Wednesday (21 October).
Commenting on the report's key findings, Lantra chief executive Peter Martin said: "This major piece of research gives us all food for thought. We must address these critical shortages in the workforce now and take on board the need for ever-increasing levels of skills."
Challenges such as the combined threats posed by climate change and weakened food and fuel security mean that farmers and growers now need to acquire even higher levels of skills and knowledge to do their jobs.
Lantra's skills assessment research will be followed by an assessment of the quality and quantity of training and education opportunities.