In other words, before tenure they are simply like everybody else in the real world. In industry (as opposed to academia), you are always on the knife's edge of being terminated. Some employers more so than others I'll grant, but I fail to see how it is any worse.
Mind you, I've played the academia game too. The pecking order in academia is more being at a very prestigious position or university as opposed to working at a state college/university and perhaps if you can't cut it you end up teaching at a community/junior college. Sometimes people don't want to play the game so they simply stick to that junior college where they can teach rather than fighting the publish or perish mentality.... or move onto even a high school where somebody with a PhD is treated with respect and not horrible pay (although perhaps less than a university although they will earn more than somebody with a BS). My 7th Grade English teacher had a PhD, and stuck around because he loved to teach kids in middle school even though he was offered a professorship elsewhere. He even published academic papers based on stuff he was doing in the classroom. There is nothing equivalent to that kind of system in private industry.