People have asked a couple of other questions, and I tried to save them, but they are all buried in comments on old posts. SO - some random answers that I think are linked to comments that are posted that I can't immediately find... AND - some commentary on some other things going on.
I went to the BIO trade show in San Diego. It is unlike any other show I have ever been to. For example - lunches were served and the speakers were governors of states (Mass. and CA. for example). For the night time parties, they rented out several city blocks (the gas lamp distict) or an aircraft carrier (state of Georgia did that...) UNREAL. The freebies were absurd. In between all of that party stuff was serious business. I met with approximately 12 billion people. All of your major countries and universities and companies were there with business development people. An unbelievable business environment. There was a good talk track as well - but I have to say the reason to be there was for the meetings and not for the talks.
I have realized I can't really answer these. I have given some guidance in the past, but it is such a location dependent, year dependent thing that I don't really think it is helpful. Industry pays better than academia in the US - not sure what else can be said about that. Look for more on salaries in my next post.
"Can I do this...."
Yes. Don't remember the exact questions being asked, but it is likely you can do it. IF you can make a convincing story about why you will be able to do it and how you are qualified. The question really is how long you want to wait and how hard you will push and where you can move to. Someone is, if it is a good idea, likely to let you do it. Answering these questions is really hard, as there are so many other factors that come in to play. The post previous to this one answers one of them, and you see that it is very detail specific.