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Career paths in effective altruism

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This page contains resources and guidance for people for whom effective altruism, or generating social value, is a dominant consideration. For people who are comparing a few careers for social value, our pages on social value of work might be more relevant.

For better understanding of effective altruism, what it's about, and how to get plugged into the relevant communities, check out the online effective altruism learning resources page.

Careers at organizations that explicitly engage in effective altruism research and advocacy

It's worth noting that many of the particular organizations that engage in effective altruism research and advocacy are relatively young, and therefore, it's unclear whether they will survive in their current form by the time you get to the job market. With that caveat, here are some organizations:

  • GiveWell: A non-profit that works on identifying ways to do the most good. This includes identifying charity recommendations as well as evaluating other ways of arguably doing good, such as scientific research and policy advocacy.
  • Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA): This is the umbrella organization for Giving What We Can, a group that advocates donating more to charity) and 80,000 Hours, a group that provides guidance on selecting a career for the maximum positive impact.
  • Center for High Impact Philanthropy (CHIP)

Careers at organizations doing research on the most effective poverty alleviation methods

The following organizations do not identify as effective altruist, but rather as research bodies that aim to identify effective methods to alleviate poverty and develop the world. However, their work is used to quite an extent by charity evaluators like GiveWell and CEA and by individuals seeking to make informed decisions, and they might also influence the policies of governments and international institutions. Working at such a place might potentially be high-leverage. These are also larger and relatively more stable, so they are likely to be around for a few years in a form similar to the present.

Career paths in areas identified as high-impact

The research by 80,000 Hours as well as their personalized career guidance might help you with this question. Note, however, that the areas identified as high-impact by 80,000 Hours or other organizations researching this subject might take more time. These could include:

  • Scientific or technological research.
  • Entrepreneurship.
  • Jobs in for-profit industries that are identified as creating high value per worker for workers of your skill profile.
  • Jobs in non-profit organizations that are identified as creating high value per worker for workers of your skill profile.

Earning to give

You could choose a career with high earnings, and then consider earning to give: give away a large fraction of the money you earn, while still having as much left to yourself as you might earn in a relatively low-paying career.