Find a high-impact career

If you’d like to use your career to help others as much as possible, we’d like to talk one-on-one. We’ve helped over 1000 people choose their focus, make connections, and find fulfilling jobs that tackle the world’s most important problems.

Apply to speak with us

How we can help

We’d like to talk whether you’re changing career or are already on an impactful path but have questions or uncertainties you think we can help with. Here are some ways we can help:

Review your plan

We’ll use our research to look for blindspots, and ensure you haven’t missed a great option. We can help you analyse which career path is best for you, compare it to your other options, and find the best options within a path.


To help you succeed, we can introduce you to mentors, funders, and collaborators. We can have a greater impact if we work together as a community.

Job opportunities

We work closely with many of the organisations working on the problems we think are most pressing, so we can tell you about relevant job and funding opportunities.

Which career paths?

We’re most helpful for people who aim to use their career to promote welfare over the long term. You can read more about what we think it means to help others as effectively as possible on our key ideas page. We have most information and connections for the problems we think are most pressing, which you can read about in our problem profiles.

We’ve listed below the career paths we think can have most impact on those problems. You can read more about them in our main article on high-impact careers.

You don’t need to have chosen a path already — we can help you narrow them down, and compare these paths to your other options. If you’re already in a path, we can help you improve your chances of success.

The next few decades might see the development of powerful machine learning algorithms with the potential to transform society. This could potentially have both huge upsides and downsides, including “existential” risks. We want to find people to do foundational research into what governments and society should do to manage the long-term risks from advanced AI. This research could involve economics, politics, political science, security studies, international relations, history, and many other disciplines, as well as an understanding of AI, and mostly takes place with academia or leading AI companies like Google DeepMind. We can help you figure out what to study to enter this area, work out whether it’s for you, and then find jobs and funding. We’re in touch with many of the key researchers and funders in this area, such as the Future of Humanity Institute in Oxford.

Governments need to hire experts in AI and its social impact to safely manage this transition. We can help you develop relevant expertise, and find relevant jobs in the civil service, political parties, think tanks, scientific funding bodies, technology journalism, industry, and other areas – though we’re mostly focused on government positions. We can introduce you to mentors with backgrounds in the US and UK governments, and other people on this path. We’re most able to help people who are interested in working on reducing the long-term risks, rather than short-term challenges like automation and/or lethal autonomous weapons, and who have engaged with the arguments as outlined in Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom.

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We want to support people to undertake research in computer science aimed at solving the “AI alignment problem” and related issues. We can help you enter a relevant graduate programme in machine learning (or sometimes neuroscience, maths, logic, or physics), by introducing you to mentors and peers, helping you self-study, and finding funding. If you already have a background in the area, we can introduce you to many of the key researchers in the field to help you choose a research question, including people at OpenAI, DeepMind, CHAI, FHI and more. We can also introduce you to many of the leading funders of this research, such as the AI Fellows Program.

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Grantmaking involves being able to survey the opportunities available in an area, and come to reasonable judgements about their likelihood of success, and probable impact if they do succeed. Grantmakers also need to build a good network, both so they can identify opportunities early, and identify groups with good judgement and the right intentions. In addition, grantmakers need to get into a position where they’re trusted by major funders, and this requires having some kind of relevant track record.

If you’re a good fit for one of these positions, then you can have a huge impact. We think top grantmakers working in effective altruism can create value equal to millions or even tens of millions of dollars per year in donations to top problem areas, making it one of the highest-impact positions right now.

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There are many organisations in the effective altruism community that are short of staff in a wide range of roles, from operations and management, to marketing and writing, to design and web engineering. As one of the groups that founded the community, we know all the main organisations, so we can help you find the best jobs available, or prepare to enter roles which come up in the future. We can also help you find funding for new projects. We’re especially keen to talk if you’ve already been involved in the community for at least a year, or if you have proven skills that the organisations are recruiting for.

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Within working at effective altruism organisations, we’d like to especially highlight roles in operations.

Operations staff enable everyone else in the organisation to focus on their core tasks and maximise their productivity. They’re especially crucial for enabling an organisation to increase in scale.

As we’ve argued, these positions seem especially in-demand right now, both within the core effective altruism organisations and the broader global catastrophic risk community. There are many open positions and organisation leaders often say this skill-set is their biggest bottleneck.

We’re looking for researchers who want to work on foundational, high-level questions on how to compare different global priorities, and find the best ways to increase global welfare (particularly in the areas of economics and philosophy). We can introduce you to the researchers who founded the field in Oxford, and help you find a relevant research question in academia. We can also help you work out what to study in order to contribute in the future, and get funding for graduate school.

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Pandemics pose a global catastrophic risk, which could increase as advances in bioengineering make it possible to create designer pandemics that are more deadly than naturally occurring ones. Government is the main line of defence against these challenges, so we want to help people seek relevant roles in government, such as at the Centers for Disease Control in the US and the World Health Organization internationally. We want to help people develop better policy proposals, perhaps working in think tanks or academia. We’re also interested in how to safely manage the introduction of other potentially transformative discoveries in biology, such as genetic engineering, and are keen to advise people interested in these issues. We’re in touch with people with backgrounds in the US and UK governments who can advise on these careers, as well as Open Philanthropy, which is a leading funder in this space.

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If you’re seeking a high-earning career in order to “earn to give” in the future, especially in quant trading or technology entrepreneurship, we can make introductions to help you get started on the path. We’re in touch with people who recruit for quant hedge funds and are members of the Y Combinator community. We may also be able to help with other high-earning jobs, such as law, management, and consulting.

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China will play a role in many of the biggest challenges of the next century, including emerging technology and global catastrophic risks. However, few in the West and in our community have a good understanding of China. We’re looking for people who are involved in the effective altruism community and want to develop deep expertise in China. We can help you find relevant graduate programmes, study Chinese, and introduce you to others on this path. If you already have this expertise, we can introduce you to people who want to work with you.

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Governments and other important institutions frequently have to make complex, high-stakes decisions based on judgement calls, often from of just a handful of people. There’s reason to believe that human judgements can be flawed in a number of ways, but can be substantially improved using more systematic processes and techniques. One of the most promising areas we’ve seen is the potential to use more rigorous forecasting methods to make better predictions about important future events. Improving the quality of foresight and decision-making in important institutions could improve our ability to solve almost all other problems. We’re especially keen to help people who want to work on the areas of policy most relevant to global catastrophic risks, such as nuclear security, AI, and biosecurity. We can help you choose a graduate programme and research topic. We can also help you look for a relevant job in government and introduce you to others on this path.

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If you intend to donate over $100,000 per year, or oversee a budget at a philanthropic foundation, we can help you apply the ideas of effective altruism to your decisions about where to donate. We helped to found the effective altruism community in 2012 in Oxford, and can help with questions like which problem area to focus on, and whether to give now or invest to give later. We can also introduce you to other major donors and organisations in the community.

We’re keen to help people enter academic positions that are relevant to the most pressing global problems, such as: computer science, maths, statistics, physics, cybersecurity, economics, game theory, philosophy, synthetic biology, public health, security studies, political science, international relations, and related disciplines. We can help you pick a graduate programme and get funding. If you’re already in one of these areas, we can help you identify a research question, use your position to do outreach and applied work, or decide whether to leave academia. We can also introduce you to like-minded academics and organisations which want to apply your research.

There are many potentially pressing global problem areas we haven’t yet researched much — for example, how to mitigate the threat of great power conflict or the question of how to make society more resilient after a disaster. We list some issues that seem particularly promising for more people to work on here. If you have an idea for a project addressing one of these issues, we’d be interested in talking to you about your plans. We don’t know nearly as much about these areas as we do the paths listed above or have many connections in them. But we are keen to see more people exploring them, so can try our best to help.

Read more

Interested in a path not listed above?

We may still be able to help. Just explain why it’s higher-impact for you in the application form. We’re especially interested in any other paths that could have a big impact on issues affecting the long-run future.

How it works

1. Apply

Fill in our brief application form, which should also help you structure your thinking.


If you’re accepted, we’ll send you a link to schedule your advising session and guidance on how to prepare.

3.Have a 1:1 call

Your advising session lasts about 45 minutes and usually takes place via video call.

4.Stay in touch

We’ll keep in touch with you and provide further assistance via email or additional calls.

Some people we've helped

Of the hundreds of people we’ve advised, 95% would recommend us to a friend and 76% said they changed their career plans to something higher impact.

As a direct result of advising, I found a role as Assistant Director of the Center for Human-Compatible AI at UC Berkeley, where I will contribute to shaping provably beneficial AI.

Rosie Campbell
Technical Program Manager

The advising team is incredibly well-researched and connected in AI safety. Their advice is far more insightful, personalized, and impact-focused than most of what I got from Google, self-reflection, or the peers or mentors I would typically go to.

Ethan Perez
Natural Language Processing PhD student
New York University

A huge thank you for offering this service! University career counselors tend to focus on finding job listings, networking, and tweaking a resume -- but the big issues I was able to explore with 80,000 Hours were far more important to me in thinking about my career over the next 30 years.

Jessica Almy
Policy Director
The Good Food Institute

What is 80,000 Hours?

80,000 Hours is an independent non-profit that helps people lead fulfilling careers with a big social impact. Founded at the University of Oxford in 2011, we’ve done over five years of research on social impact career choice and advised hundreds of alumni of the world’s top universities.

About us

Our advising team

Habiba Islam

Habiba previously served as the Senior Administrator for the Future of Humanity Institute and the Global Priorities Institute at Oxford. Before that she qualified as a barrister and worked in management consulting specialising in operations for public and third sector clients.

Michelle Hutchinson

Michelle holds a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Oxford, where her thesis was on global priorities research. While completing that, she did the operational set-up of the Centre for Effective Altruism and then became Executive Director of Giving What We Can. She came to us fresh from setting up the Global Priorities Institute at Oxford.

Niel Bowerman

Niel was a co-founder of the Centre for Effective Altruism and previously served as Assistant Director at the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute. Niel sits on the board of the Centre for Long-Term Resilience. He holds a PhD in physics from Oxford and served as climate science advisor to the Office of the President of the Maldives.

How to apply

To apply to speak with us, fill out the application form below.

We review each application and try hard to talk to people we seem best positioned to help. We are able to speak with roughly 1 in 3 people who apply. If you’re unsure whether to apply, we recommend that you do; it doesn’t take long, and many people say the application form helps them reflect on their plans. You can also always apply again if your situation changes.

We aim to work with the people who we can help have the greatest impact. This means we look for commitment to social impact, interest in our pressing problems, and evidence you can excel in a priority path. You don’t need to meet all of the criteria, but they all help.

We’re aware that factors like gender, race, and socioeconomic background can affect people’s willingness to call attention to their own achievements. We’d especially like to encourage people from under-represented backgrounds to apply.

Commitment to social impact

The aim of 80,000 Hours is to have the biggest social impact we can. We look to work with people who make social impact one of their main career goals. (See our definition of social impact for more.)

Prior involvement with the effective altruism community is helpful but not necessary. You should be familiar with the basic principles of social impact career choice as presented in our key ideas series. Ideally, you should have already tried to apply our more advanced research to your situation.

We take an analytical approach to social impact and career choice, and we’re most able to help people who do the same. We’ll look to see clear explanations of your plans, and how you hope to make an impact.

Interest in pressing problems

We’re best able to help people who are keen to work on the problems we see as most pressing. We’ll look for evidence of your interest in working in at least one of the priority paths listed above. We are keen to speak to people who have a strong existing commitment to a particular path, and also those who are at an earlier stage (e.g. considering one or more of these paths among several others).

In addition, we can often help people who are considering other paths within our top recommended problem areas, or even paths within completely different areas. If you want to work in a path that’s not listed above, please make sure your application demonstrates exceptional ability and includes a summary of the reasons why you think this is likely to be your highest-impact option.

Evidence you can excel in a priority path

Your application should provide evidence of past achievements and ability to excel in one of our priority paths, for example:

  • You’ve completed a relevant side-project, such as volunteering or research.
  • You studied at one of the world’s top 20 universities.
  • You previously worked in competitive roles.
  • You received awards, grants or fellowships.
  • You co-founded a successful business or social initiative.

If this sounds like you, then please apply to speak with us using the form below.

Apply to speak with our team

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