(TNS) — On the same day a county schools computer system was the apparent target of a cyberattack, Administration Secretary Allan McVey on Thursday told members of the Senate Finance Committee approximately 22 percent of positions in the state’s Office of Technology are unfilled.

“We’re on it. We’re going to help them through it,” McVey said of the school system, whose identity he did not disclose. He said it is too early to know if the cyberattack involved ransomware.

With cybersecurity a growing issue, McVey said, staffing that office is increasingly important. Comparatively low pay and better opportunities in the private sector, he said, have contributed to the vacancies.

“They do get trained, and then there are spaces out there in the private sector that unfortunately — or, fortunately for the economy — pay more than we can,” McVey said during the department’s budget presentation.

About 48 of 216 full-time positions in the agency are open in a competitive market for Information Technology jobs, Josh Spence, state chief technology officer, said.

He said there is less turnover among who stay with the state long enough to be vested in the state pension plan, but added it is hard to keep recent college graduates from looking at private sector opportunities.

“It’s hard to retain employees coming out of college,” he said.

©2020 The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, W.Va.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.