Work/life experts have suggested for a long time now that mothers who want to re-enter the work force should take what they've learned from...

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Work/life experts have suggested for a long time now that mothers who want to re-enter the work force should take what they’ve learned from their years spent rearing children and running a household — and list them as skills and experience that can be applied to a business setting.

And I agree: What you learn at home can be helpful when looking for a job or even a promotion.

But there’s a caveat about citing your domestic achievements on your résumé, according to Sharon Baffa, an academic adviser at Western Illinois University. “Raising children is absolutely a transferable skill, but I would not recommend claiming that skill on a résumé unless the applicant knows the company is mom-friendly,” said Baffa.

The adviser is pragmatic in her advice: “You might not want to work at a company that doesn’t value the skills learned from being a mom,” Baffa said, “but sometimes you just need a job.”

If, after investigating the company’s work/life policies, particularly flexibility, you find out they don’t exist, Baffa has this advice: “Get the job first and then work from within to help the human-resources department appreciate the skills moms learn at home that help in the workplace.”

In other words, use the nurturing skills you learned at home to help bring your employer into the 21st century.

The central issue: “No longer is the central issue of workplace discrimination about who gets hired.

“Rather, the locus of discrimination has shifted to who gets promoted and who gets access to power and decision-making.

“The ‘glass ceiling’ phenomenon afflicts minorities as well as women.”

That’s one of the conclusions made by the newsletter Recruiting Trends in its review of a recent study by Ryan Smith of Baruch College and James Elliott of Tulane University.

The study, published in the American Sociological Review, says the new locus is “the most prevalent mode of discrimination in today’s workplace,” according to the newsletter.

And, unfortunately, “the study … also suggests that discrimination is not limited to Fortune 500 companies, but extends across a broad spectrum of organizations.”

More bad news: The headline of the newsletter report reads, “Workplace inequality most blatant at managerial level, study finds.”

• Introduction to engineering: Only 10 percent of all engineers in the United States are women — a statistic that hasn’t changed for several years.

In order to increase the number of females in the profession, the National Engineers Week Foundation, based in Atlanta, has created a year of activities that aim to “plant the seeds of interest early” in girls in math and science.

It includes a one-day program (Feb. 24) during which thousands of female engineers, along with their male colleagues, volunteer to give their expertise and encouragement to more than 1 million young women.

The National Society of Professional Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers and IBM were among the founders in 2001 of the innovative program.

• Defining the terms: “The standard term, work/life balance, suggests that the key to these issues is to find some perfect equilibrium and then preserve it,” says Margaret Heffernan, author of “The Naked Truth: A Working Woman’s Manifesto on Business and What Really Matters” (Jossey-Bass, $24.95).

“I think it’s more complicated than that. Balance certainly is not half and half … ”

And then Heffernan asks this important question: “Who defines us: Our employers or ourselves?”

Only you can answer that question for yourself.

E-mail questions to Carol Kleiman at Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.