[epistemic status: I wrote this post fairly quickly. I wouldn't be surprised if I’ve missed some relevant points, feel free to correct me in the comments]

Over the coming two weeks, the FTX foundation will be making its decisions and likely disbursing $100m, possibly more. [EDIT: $100m to be disbursed within the coming year, not necessarily in the coming two weeks, as has been pointed out in the comments]

Let’s assume that those funds are going to be spent on salaries (imprudent assumption) and that those salaries average $100k (probably a prudent assumption, I’d guess), and that no more than $100m is donated (prudent assumption)...

… then there could be 1,000 EA jobs up for grabs in the coming months.

As if I don’t have enough eccentricities, I’m going to refer to the Big EA Hiring Round as the BEAHR.

 


 

Has the EA community ever had this many new jobs created in such a short space of time?

Not as far as I’m aware.

As far as I know, it’s as if a BEAHR from deepest darkest Peru has suddenly and magically turned up at a tube station.

 

What does this mean for you, a potential applicant?

Are you someone who has been thinking of getting a job in an EA org, but not gotten round to it? 

Now is a good time to get ready for the BEAHR!

If you want to take action right now, you might want to prepare your CV. When I have hired for EA jobs in the past, I have requested a CV, but I have not been very prone to reject people for a bad CV – I’ve mostly used it as an indication of intent to apply, plus a useful reference point before the interview.

This means that if you’re the sort of person who agonises over whether your CV is good enough, you can relax. At least, assuming that other organisations take the same approach as me!

If anyone wants to include further thoughts or advice on putting together your CV in the comments, feel free.

Vaidehi provided some useful more general advice encouraging people to apply for jobs here.

We will need the right infrastructure, including jobs boards…

I am happy to report that I have used the 80,000 hours jobs board and found it to be a hugely valuable resource. It has led to a very high calibre of applicant, and a good quantity too. I’m hugely grateful to 80,000 hours for providing this great resource.

However I have heard reports that people have had an inconsistent experience of using the 80,000 jobs board, and suggestions that it is underresourced.

I also understand that 80,000 hours has been hiring for someone to manage the jobs board, so I very much hope that that person can hit the ground running and will relish the challenge of meeting the substantial needs for this resource.

Even assuming that the 80,000 hours jobs board is functioning perfectly in the coming months, I still think that duplication/competition is valuable.

I would love it if someone decided to quickly create and boldly market a new EA jobs board.

This will be useful for the forthcoming BEAHR, and possibly for beyond. 

 

… and don’t forget the Effective Altruism Job Postings facebook group!

If you’re not on that facebook group, I would encourage you to join it! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1062957250383195

And if you’re on it, please check in on it. I predict that the BEAHR may make that space a bit more frenzied in the coming months!

 

Does this mean the end of “it’s really really hard to get hired by an EA organisation

Three years ago, a plaintive, heartfelt post struck a deep chord within the community, and became a hit on the EA forum.

Will the BEAHR bring about an end to it being so hard to get hired?

Sadly, not necessarily.

I predict that some people will feel the great joy of getting a new job, but others will still experience a series of rejections without getting hired.

And that this will happen for some very talented people.

Why?
 

  • Firstly, there is an idiosyncratic need that organisations have. It is really normal for me to be hiring, and I encounter an applicant who is really capable and talented. I often feel a desire to hire such people – I like hiring really good people! But sometimes that applicant might not be the right fit for the role we’re hiring for. I worry that we feed this back to the applicant, and they might be told  “You’re a great applicant, but not the right fit for this role. We would love to have you apply again”, but the pain of rejection makes them reinterpret this as “You’re crap. Go away”. In fact my actual sentiment is so viscerally the opposite of this.
  • Secondly (and this is almost a “zoomed out” version of the first point) – the current BEAHR is based on grants from the FTX Future Fund, which means that longtermism and EA meta work may well get funding, but other cause areas will not necessarily receive much more funding. I think Joey did the community a great service by writing his excellent post a few weeks back, in which he suggested that we should be more nuanced in thinking about resources in the community. I think he’s spot on, and I don’t want this post to exacerbate the nuanced impression that some might have had.

 

This may seem daunting.

 

It’s worth bearing in mind that the BEAHR probably won’t be a quick, one-off opportunity. If you apply in the coming months and get nowhere, I’m confident there will be more opportunities. Some applicants to the Foundation will get a planning grant and then receive funds later. Also the FTX Foundation will disburse more grants over the coming months and years, not to mention the funding from Open Phil and other sources.

 

And while some people will find that the BEAHR opens the door to an exciting new life in an EA org, grappling with the BEAHR may still be painful for many people. 

 

But don’t let that stop you – I’d urge you to brace yourselves and prod the BEAHR!



 

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35 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 11:21 AM
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Oh wow! I knew Rethink was hiring, but I didn't realise it was for that many people!

I am happy to independently verify that there are lovely people working at Rethink and I encourage people to apply!

Not tempted to run the full 1000 person hiring round and prioritise candidates for everyone else?

We don't have the ops capacity for this, but one of the things we're trying to do is expanding ops capacity! 

(speaking in terms of my own best guesses, not necessarily endorsed by our ops team)

That definitely sounds right! Onlookers can feel free to apply to our recruiter role if they want to help us scout talent!

Haha I'm not sure we can handle that!

Though probably don't bother dusting off your CVs for RP, CVs are given very little weight in our selection process, at least for research roles in the longtermism department. 

"Over the coming two weeks, the FTX foundation will be making its decisions and likely disbursing $100m, possibly more."

Just wanted to quickly correct this. Though we aim to give out at least $100M this year, we are not aiming to do that in this first call for proposals.

I was unsure about this, thanks for clarifying

I would love it if someone decided to quickly create and boldly market a new EA jobs board.

I want to flag the existence of the EA Internship Board for younger EAs. We hope to update this regularly as new positions role in! 

(If anyone is interested in helping source opportunities for young EAs in the coming months, please get in touch with me at MJusten@wisc.edu !) There would most likely be funding available. 

Related question: what proportion of these new opportunities do you think will be accessible to EA college students and recent graduates? 

Re jobs boards, there is also eawork.club.

Great shout, I'd forgotten about that

I like the gist of your post, but I wish you'd included a better estimate as I'm guessing your post is way off. Maybe assume 20% goes to salaries, so that'd be 200, but it doesn't include overheads, so maybe 130? Then again, it's not clear how much of the 100 million they want to give out this round. If it's half, then that'd be 65.

What would the other 80% be spent on? Sanjay's estimate could also be quite conservative. Say it was $1B given away in next year, with 80% of it allocated to programs in next year, and 80% spent on salaries, with an average salary of $80k. Then it would be 8k jobs! Maybe we can say that there will be somewhere in the range of 80-8,000 jobs available over the next 18 months (and more in the coming years). Sanjay's 1,000 does seem like a reasonable point estimate.

Here's an example of an FTX Future Fund application requesting $1M that doesn't mention using the money to hire anyone. Instead, the plan is to use the money to subsidize charity prediction markets.

8000 is unrealistic. EA can't scale that fast.

Yes, it would have to involve some amount of hiring from outside the community.

I, like Greg, am confused about your 20% estimate.

However I think your comment does point to one possible misunderstanding, which it would be good to clear up. My post might have suggested that the BEAHR is a one-off moment lasting over a short period in the coming months, but it might actually be more spread out than that.

More on the 20% estimate:

  • In the orgs I've founded, 90%+ of spend is on people.
  • If we had an office, and/or paid for more expensive HR/accounting services, that might go down to c80% or maybe a bit lower.
  • If we outsourced more (e.g. tech or design) that might go down further to, say, 60% or 50% (although note that those things might be outsourced to orgs in the EA ecosystem).
  • But for an organisation whose work involves people sitting at a computer and doing work (as opposed to, say, buying and passing on malaria nets) I'm unclear what the remaining 80% would be spent on.

There is a growing need for projects that deploy money rather than just having people think, and so, to me, it seems likely that "organisation whose work involves people sitting at a computer and doing work" will describe a decreasing proportion of total spending.

David is not the only person to have this perspective -- KHorton seemed to believe something similar in an earlier post, but as I argued there, I don't understand the dichotomy of "deploy money rather than just having people think". I expect there to be lots of money spent on "deploying money by having people think".

...but we're already doing tons of that, and I'm not saying it will end, just that other things more like deploying funds  will also get started.

I guess I was counting prizes and scholarships separate from jobs.

I suggest building the following jobs site. I could get this done for £15k. This is largely written from notes. If enough people are interested I might write something long.

EA jobs site roadmap

  • @Effective_Jobs twitter bot uploads jobs to database website 
  • Anyone can submit jobs
  • Email subscriptions filtered
    • Filter by location, cause area, job role, 
  • Users can upvote downvote
  • Comments on each job
  • Show many people are currently viewing page

Improving CVs:

I know it looks drafty, but this post is a pretty reliable way to improve a CV, even a CV that has gone through professional editing.

I'm saying this based on "I experimented with about 5 people" (including someone with ~20 years of experience), not on my own opinions about what should probably work.

I think some CVs make the mistake of spending too many words to explain something: "No, this nuance is really important!! I have to explain it!!"

As your post rightly points out, it's disturbingly common to simply omit something altogether.

Good post Yonatan, thanks for linking it :-)

Thanks :)

I agree about the too-many-words problem, but it seems like a problem that is more widely known already  (as a proxy: If you ask your friends to review your CV, they'll probably point it out), so I didn't write about it myself

 

Adding: The opposite problem also happens all the time, most commonly forgetting to mention measurable successes or even one's responsibility in the project

I know someone who might be working on a "common application" (but they might not be).

In my understanding, the role of this "common application" is distinct and deeper than a job board. 

A job board is like an airtable for jobs (this is a lot of work and harder than it sounds). On the other hand, a common application works together with different EA orgs and involves applicants throughout the job process. 

Some points:

  • A common application can prevent/resolve issues like it’s really really hard to get hired by an EA organisation and many others. It should produce real impact.
  • The best versions of a common application are much more impactful than OK versions.
  • A lot of important design decisions for this common application are hard to see and might depend on initial conditions.
  • There’s a tension between moving quickly and building a strong version of the common application. It was hoped to do this without time pressure.

It seems like putting up some job board, such as the eawork.club might serve well in the mean time. 

To my knowledge, I'm not sure anyone is working on this "common application". This probably has a lot of value. 

One particular vision/proposal/description about it might be posted in the future (or you can just get started on planning it if you're interested).

To people who have transitioned from private sector to charity/EA type roles:

Did you greatly rework your CV or use pretty much the same one?

Not to be confused with the Behar.

What options may there be for part-time (full-time students who are highly EA forcused/motivated)?  

the pain of rejection makes them reinterpret this as “You’re crap. Go away”. In fact my actual sentiment is so viscerally the opposite of this.

Bless you for posting this. That's exactly what it's like for applicants!

In retrospect, this seems to have been a massive over-estimate.