'Flexible Working is Key to Attracting & Retaining Women'

professional headshot of Jo Field

We’re delighted to have recently caught up with Jo Field, Founder and Managing Director of JFG Communications, a boutique consultancy specialising in stakeholder engagement, public affairs and gender diversity for the transport, infrastructure and construction industries.

So Jo, tell us about the idea behind your business.

Before I set up JFG Communications, I spent almost a decade working in the transport industry, where I built and led the award-winning Stakeholder Engagement team at Transport for London (TfL). After returning to work following the birth of my second child, I was sleep deprived and feeling the effects of juggling both work and home life. I felt I wasn’t performing at my best and so I looked for other senior role models within the industry to whom I could turn for support. It soon became apparent there weren’t nearly enough! I really felt more could be done to attract women into male dominated industries, and this moved me into taking action. I used my campaigning expertise to drive forward the women in transport agenda, in TfL and the wider industry.

In 2016, I was named the FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics Industry Champion for attracting and retaining women in transport, and inspiring young people to choose transport careers. It was at this point I felt I could really make a difference in not only the transport industry, but other industries including construction. A few months later I started JFG Communications. 

Tell us more about your business and what sets you apart? 

As a niche consultancy, JFG Communications has been set up a little differently. We’re passionate about attracting more women to work in male-dominated industries, and this has informed our company culture.

Research shows flexible working is key to attracting and retaining women within organisations, so we’re disrupting the traditional PR agency model by placing flexible and agile working at the heart of our business model.

We’re the first ever virtual public affairs agency. We operate with flexible hours and locations, and a truly agile ethos. We have a core team based in London, but we also have a team of trusted independent consultants who are highly skilled experts in their fields. This approach helps us offer best-in-class specialist diversity and communications services that are fully bespoke and tailored exactly to our clients’ needs, yet still operate a business which is both profitable, sustainable and attractive to all of our team. 

I’m a founding member of the PRCA Virtual PR Agencies Network, which has been formed to identify opportunities and challenges faced by virtual agencies, and to develop initiatives to help drive them forward.

This sounds really exciting! How has your business evolved over the past 3 years?

I’m delighted with how my business has progressed. In just three and a half years I have grown from being the sole member of staff, to having built up a solid team.  We’re growing steadily year on year and we’ve made a significant impact on the construction industry by researching gender issues and creating inclusive content, toolkits and mentoring programmes.            

What advice would you give to women who were considering a career in construction?

There are some fantastic opportunities for women to work in the construction industry. And not just in the traditional jobs that first come to mind. Any job you can think of can be done within this sector; communications, finance, HR, marketing, procurement… the list goes on! 

I’ve worked really hard to challenge the stereotypes that exist so women can feel empowered and excited to work in industries which are typically male dominated. It’s a great sector to work in, with excellent prospects and the potential to be involved in some really exciting projects. By encouraging more women to the sector, we’re improving the balance and helping a more diverse range of perspectives shape the world around us.