Jobs tackling the world’s most pressing problems

Some of these roles directly address some of the world’s most pressing problems, while others may help you build the career capital you need to have a big impact later.

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If you have a good shot at getting any of these positions, we’d be keen to discuss your next career decision in-person. We’re in touch with most of the employers on this list, so we can sometimes provide introductions or information about roles that have not yet been advertised.

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You are viewing our curated list of the most promising publicly advertised vacancies we’re aware of. They’re all high-impact opportunities at organisations that are working on some of the world’s most pressing problems. These positions are demanding, but if you’re a good fit for one of them, it could be your best opportunity for impact.

These positions focus on the global problems where we expect additional work to have the biggest impact. This list is particularly focussed on opportunities to positively influence the long-term future, especially by reducing existential risks.

Work on other pressing problems

These positions focus on global problems that we consider to be among the most pressing. We expect additional work in these areas to be highly valuable, but it seems less likely to reduce existential risks or influence the long-term future. Visit our user guide & FAQ to better understand why we list these roles and to learn about how to make the best use of this board.

Didn’t find anything? We update this list roughly twice per month. Join our newsletter to get notified about new vacancies:

If you’d like to better understand why we list these roles and learn about how to make the best use of this board, visit our user guide & FAQ.

Many of these roles are very demanding. If they seem out of reach right now, see our article on how to invest in yourself to maximise your impact in the long-term, or scroll down for more suggestions on how to find leads.

Organisations we recommend

Some of the highest-impact jobs are never advertised and are instead created for the right applicants. So below is our list of what we think are some of the best organisations working on some of the world’s most pressing problems. These are all potentially very high-impact places to work in any role, and many can help you to develop great career capital.

Our top priority areas:

Note: Our investigation of this area is only shallow, so we are not confident in our analysis and recommendations. See the Open Philanthropy’s overview of this area for more detail and a longer list of organisations.

Other promising areas:

Advocacy for animals on factory farms

Development of meat substitutes

Other places to find vacancies

This board contains a curated list – it does not aim to be comprehensive. If you want to do a thorough search, you should check organisation websites directly. You can also find more vacancies and volunteer opportunities on the Effective Altruism Jobs Facebook Group and the Effective Altruism newsletter.

Due to resource constraints, we are currently unable to process unsolicited requests to list vacancies on this board. Please address any queries to [email protected].

User guide & FAQ

80,000 Hours is a non-profit that helps people pursue careers that effectively tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Our job board presents some of the most promising publicly advertised vacancies we know about. We post opportunities to work directly on pressing problems, and also opportunities to develop the career capital – skills, experience, knowledge, connections and credentials – you’ll need to have a big impact later.

This page offers advice on how to use the board as part of your job search, and explains how we decide which opportunities to feature.

We think that social impact is a bit like other areas such as business, finance or the arts: to have an unusually large impact, you probably need to innovate in some way. This might mean coming up with a novel approach to a widely recognised problem, or it might mean deciding to work on problems that are currently neglected by society in general.

The question of which problems most warrant more attention right now partly depends on your moral philosophy. One idea that we take seriously is the moral significance of the way our actions affect future generations. Barring catastrophe, the vast majority of people who will ever live have yet to be born. This means that the value of passing on a better world – one that gives future generations a greater chance to lead flourishing lives – could be enormous.

In part for this reason, we are very concerned by the risk of existential catastrophes in this century. Such risks threaten the survival of humanity, and our ability to realise any values in the short-term or long-term future.

Another key consideration is how society is currently allocating resources. If an important problem is already widely recognised, then it is likely that a lot of people are already trying to solve it. If that’s the case, then it will usually be harder for a few extra people who decide to work on the issue to have a very large impact. All else equal, you are likely to be able to do far more good in an area that is not getting the attention it deserves.

To learn more, see our key ideas page and our problem profiles.

We run the following process roughly twice per month:

  1. Discovery: We check the vacancy pages of more than 400 organisations (see the full list here).
  2. Longlist: Of the thousands of vacancy postings we see, we select 5-15% of the most promising.
  3. Shortlist: We narrow down our longlist, consulting outside experts or staff familiar with the area to help us decide.

We aim to strike a good balance between breadth of coverage and the confidence with which we can recommend a particular vacancy or organisation, given the resources we have available. Our process predictably generates many false negatives and some false positives – at stage (2) we’re averaging less than a minute per vacancy decision, and at stage (3) just a few minutes. The process selects for opportunities that are easy for us to identify as promising, and selects against opportunities that are difficult to assess quickly, e.g. options at less prominent organisations that might seem like a good bet after careful consideration.

We weigh several factors when deciding which organisations to check. These include:

  • Is this organisation working directly on one of our recommended problem areas?
  • Is this organisation likely to provide good opportunities to acquire relevant career capital for working on a recommended problem area later?
  • Does this organisation have an impressive track record that we can easily verify? Have they been funded, recommended, or otherwise supported by a group or individual whose judgement we trust?
  • Do we have an edge that makes it easier for us to confidently vouch for a particular organisation (e.g. we know people who work there)?

It’s important to note that rigorously evaluating organisations is not a primary focus of 80,000 Hours. Our decisions rely on rules of thumb we can apply relatively quickly and draw heavily on the judgement of outside experts and other groups.

We weigh several criteria when deciding which vacancies to list. These include:

  • Is this a good opportunity to work directly on a problem area we recommend?
  • Is this a good opportunity to develop the career capital – skills, experience, knowledge, connections and credentials – needed to work on a top problem later?
  • Is this opportunity likely to be a good fit for people in our audience?

If a vacancy or organisation is included on the board, take this as a positive signal that it may be worth your consideration. The omission of a particular vacancy or organisation from our list should be taken as a neutral signal, not a negative signal. Our coverage is not comprehensive and there’s a good chance that your best option will be a role that we have not listed.

The first stage in a job search involves generating leads. A lead is any opportunity that might turn into a job – including friends or colleagues who might know an opportunity or a side project you might be able to get paid for. It’s important to search for “informal” leads like these in addition to publicly available vacancies that can be listed on a job board.

We recommend generating wide variety of leads and sending dozens of applications. You should apply for “stretch” roles you think you’re unlikely to get, as well as a large number of “reasonable” options and some “backup” options.

Stretch options are important because (i) some people are under confident and underestimate their chances of getting highly demanding roles and (ii) it’s easy to overestimate the hiring bar of a particular vacancy or organisation (e.g. a common mistake is to assume that if you’re missing a formal qualification mentioned in the job requirements, you have no chance of getting an interview.). If you are making either mistake, it is very valuable to find this out. What’s more, even if you do not get a role you apply for, there can be a large upside to getting “on the radar” of an organisation – they may consider you for future opportunities, or they may know of other opportunities (perhaps not publicly advertised) that might be a good fit. In general, when searching for jobs, there are often large returns to optimism and actions that increase your “luck surface area” (i.e. the probability you get a “lucky” break).

Your backup options should mean that you’re extremely likely to finish your search with an acceptable short-term option available. Well-defined backup options reduce personal risk and can help make a job search process somewhat less stressful. Example backup options might be (i) staying in your current job rather than changing; (ii) taking a job that’s not an ideal fit or (iii) doing whatever it takes to free up energy to invest in developing your skills while not at work, e.g. taking an easy part-time job or moving in with friends or parents to reduce your living expenses.

Many successful careers involve periods of great uncertainty and repeated setbacks – if you find the process tough, it may help to remind yourself that it is normal to find this difficult, and to invest more than usual in self-care. Many of the roles we advertise are very difficult to get and in many fields it’s common for talented people to get 20+ rejections during an early career job search.

Our job board aims to list opportunities that may be among the best opportunities for some of our readers. Some opportunities on the board may be a suitable backup option for you, but most readers will need to look elsewhere to find their backup options. Most readers should also do more than just check our job board to build their list of “stretch” and “reasonable” leads. Further steps you might take:

  • Lead discovery: make a list of the organisations you’re interested in, then check their websites, follow them on social media and join their newsletters. Do the same thing for individuals who are working in the areas you’re interested in. Check other job boards that cover your areas of interest.
  • Lead creation: many of the best roles are never publicly advertised. Consider sending speculative applications to relevant organisations and individuals if you think you can help them (whether or not they’re advertising a role that fits you). Reach out to friends and colleagues and ask who they think you should talk to and whether they know anywhere that might be a good fit. Consider doing voluntary or freelance contract work.

There’s more advice in our articles on how to get a job and how to make a career plan.

Some limitations of the 80,000 Hours job board to bear in mind:

  • We focus on our top recommended problem areas and priority career paths. If you want to work on a different problem, including those on our lists of potentially promising problems areas and career paths, the board is less likely to be useful.
  • We aim to present a “short, curated list” rather than comprehensive coverage. This means we highlight a selection of the most promising roles we know about that will be relevant to our audience. We do not have the resources to cover (or even discover) all the promising organisations that exist, and the fact that we sometimes advertise roles at a given organisation does not mean we’ll always list every promising vacancy they have.
  • Our curation process selects for opportunities that are easy for us to identify as promising. Read more about how we decide what to list.

The job board aims to bring promising opportunities to your attention. The presence of a vacancy on the board means that we think it may be among the best opportunities for some of our readers. If you are excited about a role you find via the board, we’d encourage you to investigate it and seriously consider applying.

That said, there is a good chance that your best option is actually a role that is not featured on the board. If you find a role that seems promising but is not listed on our board, you should not infer that it is less promising than the roles that we do feature.

In short: if a vacancy is featured on the board, take this as a positive signal that it may be worth your consideration. If a vacancy is not featured on the board, you should take this as a neutral signal.

Similar logic applies for organisations we feature on the board.

To learn more about how we select roles and organisations for the board, see above.

It’s worth remembering that personal fit is one of the most important considerations when choosing a career. There are many reasons why a role that would be the best option for some people might be a bad option for you.

If you put effort into writing a good cover letter for a job application, you probably know more about that job than we did when we decided to advertise it. Applying for a job is an investigation (into the organisation, the role, and your personal fit), so by the time you are deciding whether to accept a job offer you will know many things that we don’t. At that stage, we would not recommend putting much weight on whether or not a particular role was featured on our job board. If, during your investigation, you learn things about an organisation that you think we should know but perhaps don’t, please get in touch.

We often list roles that are good for building the career capital – skills, experience, knowledge, connections and credentials – you’ll need to have a big impact later. Good opportunities to build career capital do not always involve doing work that directly contributes to solving a top problem.

For example, if you want to work in AI policy, your best option may be to start by working in nearby areas at relevant institutions (e.g. taking any role that helps you build experience in policy, AI, and/or national security).

One note of caution: we sometimes see people who try to build career capital by pursuing traditional prestigious options (such as consulting, law or banking) that are not particularly close to the problems they want to work on. We think most people should consider other options first. In many cases, you’ll be able to find a role that is relatively close to an area where you might want to end up, and this will get you more relevant experience and connections. Specialised career capital usually beats general career capital.

Read more about career capital.

Most powerful organisations cause some harm or are at least somewhat controversial. For example, few people agree with everything that Amazon, Facebook, or the US military have done. But large organisations like these have large influence on several of our recommended problem areas, so if you want to have a big impact, your best option might be to work at such an organisation – either to build career capital so you can have an impact later, or to have a direct impact by helping improve them from the inside.

Regrettably, some generally respectable media outlets and political narratives sometimes encourage us to categorise organisations as “good” or “evil”. In reality, people at large organisations like these are doing a huge range of things, some good, some bad, and some neutral. It’s important to consider what you’ll be doing within the specific job you might take, and how you might be able to shape that role in a more positive direction. In general, you’ll probably have more impact by contributing to responsibly led organisations whose track records have been positive overall (we list some reasons for this in our article on harmful jobs). But this may not always be the case, so you should not automatically rule out taking jobs at controversial or unpopular organisations.

More broadly, all actions – including all career decisions – involve a risk of harm, so you need to do your best to weigh the upsides and downsides of your different options. This is one reason why career decisions are morally and practically difficult. Our general advice is to avoid taking jobs you expect to cause serious harm even if you think they could do a greater amount of good. It’s also important to think carefully about how to reduce the risk of accidentally causing harm.

If you think we are mistakenly promoting roles that are foreseeably causing serious harms, please let us know.

No. The total number of roles we list in a given problem area is constantly changing and determined by many factors.

Our views on which problems we think are most pressing for more people to work on can be found here.

We are an English-speaking team and most of our audience is based in English-speaking countries, in particular the USA and the UK. This is one reason why most of the opportunities we feature are based in these countries. We also think these countries may be among the most influential in several of our priority problem areas.

Knowing that there will be many great roles we’ll end up missing is an aspect of running this job board that is difficult for us. We’re aware that if you know about a position where someone could make a big difference, and you can’t get the position posted here, that must be even more frustrating.

Unfortunately, however, we can’t respond to requests to promote particular vacancies or organisations, nor to questions about why we’ve included or excluded something specific. This is a compromise we’ve had to make in order to manage the high demand while keeping the resources we expend on the board at a level we think is cost effective.

You could consider posting your vacancy in this facebook group, which many of our readers also check.

As a starting point, see our general advice on how to make career decisions.

We may also be able to offer you personalised advice and support. For example, we can sometimes provide useful information about the specific organisation or role, or can introduce you to someone who works at the organisation and could help you decide. If you’re moving into a new field, we might know people who are happy to provide advice and introductions to help build your network.

We won’t be able to help in every case. But we often can, and any support we can offer is free of charge.

If you’ve received an offer for a role or organisation that is featured on the job board, send us an email. Please include a link to the role you’re considering, some information on your background (e.g. a resume or LinkedIn profile) and some brief notes on how you’re thinking about the decision. The subject line of your email should take the form: “Job board offer received, decision due by [DATE]”.

Please note: our advising team is unable to reply to other kinds of queries sent to this email address. If you’re looking for advice in another situation, please apply to our advising service.

Please tell us if the job board helps you find your next role.

If you have thoughts on how we could improve the board, please write to [email protected].