The poll of more than 350 companies has been published by leading trade bodies UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association and the British Institute of Innkeeping.
It found 84% were looking for front-of-house workers, 67% have non-head chef roles to be filled and over a third (36%) kitchen porters.
The sector’s vacancy levels are at 10%, which implies a shortage of more than 200,000 employees across the industry.
Furthermore, the sector’s supply chain is also suffering meaning almost all of those surveyed (94%) are experiencing difficulties with 66% having reduced product lines, 63% seeing delivery delays, 60% not receiving products and 56% seeing major price inflation.
Respondents said a return to the full 20% VAT rate next year would see 43% of firms cut investment, 30% become loss-making, 28% forced to cut jobs, 22% implementing a recruitment freeze and 21% facing business failure.
Those surveyed also ranked a myriad of Government support they need to be prioritised with business rates relief extended into 2022/23 the top measure.
This was followed by a continuation of VAT for the sector beyond March next year and an overhaul of the business rates system.
Bumpy road to recovery
Other support measures mentioned included a beer and alcoholic drinks duty cut alongside help to address labour shortages.
In a joint statement, the associations said: “The easing of all legal restrictions should mark a progression into the recovery phase for our sector, which has been hardest hit during the pandemic and only now permitted to trade unrestricted and make progress toward rebuilding and paying off accrued debts.
“But businesses are faced with a range of pressing challenges meaning the road to recovery will be bumpy for many months to come. The sector has already lost more than 12,000 venues during the course of the pandemic and more than half a million jobs - without further adequate support there will be more businesses and jobs lost.
“For hospitality to begin a sustainable recovery, the Government must continue working closely with us in order to put in place the right trading environment, including measures such as further business rates relief into next year and the extension of the lower rate of VAT.
“This will offer firms the chance to bounce back strongly and help to rebuild fragile consumer confidence. With the right support, hospitality can be at the forefront of the nation’s economic recovery, creating jobs and reviving our high streets and city centres.”