IT jobs have been growing at a rapid rate over the last two decades. The share of IT and IT-intensive occupations has increased by 19.5% between 2004 and 2017 – eight times faster than the growth of other jobs ­at 2.4% – according to a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of British Columbia (UBC).

“The future of jobs is in IT, and IT-intensive tasks,” said Giovanni Gallipoli, co-author of the study and associate professor from the Vancouver School of Economics at UBC. “Earnings have actually grown significantly for individuals working in jobs involving IT tasks. Both companies and workers stand to benefit if they invest in IT education.”

While this is positive news for applicants seeking IT-related positions, it adds to the challenges facing employers who are already scrambling to bridge the IT skills gap. Organizations across industries are struggling to hire candidates with the necessary skills and experience to fill in-demand tech jobs. In a Harvey Nash and KPMG survey of technology leaders, 65% said that hiring challenges are hurting their industry.

Companies must look for new and innovative ways to hire for IT positions, or they will fail to address the increasing talent shortage. The established practice of screening applicants based on a narrow set of criteria, such as a certain degree or specific qualifications, overlooks a large pool of candidates who have the potential to thrive with the right training.

The industry publication, HR Dive, recommends that employers make education a part of the recruitment and hiring process:

With nearly every job category requiring some tech skills and knowledge, the talent employers recruit may not have all the qualifications needed. This means that organizations may find that upskilling is necessary, either through formal classroom training, structured apprenticeships or informal on-the-job learning.

York Solutions’ Barriers to Entry (B2E) is a paid training program that is designed to open up a new pipeline of diverse talent. B2E is targeted toward non-traditional or underserved candidates: stay-at-home parents, veterans, and caregivers returning to the workforce or launching their careers in IT.

The program prepares them with comprehensive training and helps them utilize their past work experience and transferrable skills. And companies that hire B2E graduates gain highly skilled, valuable team members that strengthen their organizations and give them a competitive edge for long-term growth.

Learn how the B2E Program can help your organization fill vital IT roles.