I have heard from some senior researchers in theoretical computer science that working in a non-research industry job, even just for a few years, will kill your career as a TCS researcher.
However I am suspicious of the claim that the road from being a TCS researcher to a non-research job in the industry is a one-way street. I want to know if this claim is plausible and any implications of making an excursion into a non-research job in the industry in case one later decides to return to a research job in academia.
Do you know examples of people who went to non-research industry jobs after their completing their PhD, worked there for a few years, and successfully made it back into academia as researchers (e.g. got research faculty positions)?
If yes, what fraction of senior researchers (tenured) do they constitute in your department or departments you are familiar with?
What fraction of such candidates who apply for academic research positions fail to obtain one?
Does the number of years in non-research jobs before returning make a difference?
More generally, what role would such excursions play in decisions made by hiring committees?
Since the answer may vary from a region to another one (e.g. North America, Europe, etc.) please mention the region you are talking about in your answer.
For the purposes of this question, let's consider all jobs in which the main task is conducting (publishable) research as "academia" and all jobs in which the main task is not conducting (publishable) research and it is difficult to do research and publish papers as "industry".