I am currently considering junior faculty positions in the US and Europe—my partner is European, and for a variety of reasons (family, etc.) we would like to end up there in the long term. Being from the US, however, it is unclear to me which is a better strategy for obtaining a permanent position:
- get tenure (or at least, "be successful") at a good North American department and use that leverage to negotiate a position in Europe, or
- spend that same time / energy making personal connections in Europe.
The reason that the answer is not clear to me is that 1. the country in question has a relatively small number of permanent positions, and 2. my impression is that in many European systems, personal contacts still have a rather significant effect (even among candidates with excellent qualifications).
I am interested in both quantiative data (e.g., what percent of hires are domestic vs. foreign in various countries/systems) as well as personal experience.