With tenured hard-money positions being increasingly competitive, some researchers spend their entire career on soft money untenured positions. To me, it would seem quite bad to never know more than one or two years in advance whether one will still have a job (see also this question). But a senior soft money colleague (who has been on soft money since starting a post-doc 25+ years ago) pointed out it's really no worse than working for a private company, where you also never know the same. That made me wonder.
In practice, how does the job security of soft money career scientists compare to scientists working for private companies? Is there any data which one is at a higher risk of being laid off from a position that has been held for a long (10+ years) time¹? And if people are then laid off, how quickly they find a similar position, if at all?
For the sake of this question, consider STEM companies that are relatively close to research, such as consultancy companies developing scientific products (such as software) or performing scientific services (such as running simulations) in close cooperation with university and/or government research labs.
¹There may be a special case where researchers work for different government contractors during their career, but for the same client and even in physically the same office. Despite the problems that entails, here I mean laid off without being almost immediately rehired to do the same job as before.