I have almost completed my Ph.D. in applied mathematics at a highly ranked private U.S. college. I am an older student with almost a decade of industrial work experience between undergrad and grad school, and so I would prefer not to go through a postdoc before I can get my teaching career into motion. As for publications, I have two (maybe three by the time I graduate) first-author papers. I have some teaching experience as a TA in the first couple of years, and I also taught my own course here last semester. My career interests mostly lie in the form of teaching, but I would also like to conduct some good research.
I have observed hiring trends and it appears as though it is impossible nowadays (without a postdoc) to get a tenure-track position at any college of higher rank than the place you got your Ph.D. (The rank doesn’t matter that much to me, but I understand the correlation between such rankings and the quality of research (and research funding) that will be available to the assistant professor). The alumni from my program, who are in tenure-track positions, are all in lower-ranked colleges – except for one holding a postdoc position in a college of similar rank.
Would you say I probably have to choose between doing a postdoc at a higher-ranked school (then apply for TT jobs at such higher-ranked schools) or simply return to industry?