Open Phil’s longtermist effective altruism (EA) movement-building team works to increase the amount of attention and resources put towards problems that threaten to eliminate or drastically worsen the future of sentient life, such as the possibility of an existential catastrophe this century. Open Phil’s other longtermist focus areas  aim to make direct progress on those problems. We share these goals, but work at one level of indirection: we focus on helping these problems to get the attention and resources that they seem, to us, to deserve.
We think that one of the most important constraints on progress on these problems is the limited set of people who have the motivation, context, and skills necessary to contribute. In general, longtermism seems to have a ‘funding overhang’; the available capital could support much more relevant work than is currently happening, but high-priority projects often struggle to hire people who are great fits for the work. Consequently, many of the projects our team supports aim to communicate effective altruism- and longtermism-related ideas to people, and help them get the knowledge and skills to work on the most pressing longtermist problems.
Much of our work involves growing and supporting the EA community, and adjacent communities such as the rationalist community. That’s because we think these groups of people have historically been epicenters of thought and action on these problems. Estimates  based on the EA Survey put the number of people in the world who would self-report as being significantly engaged with effective altruism — a group different from, but overlapping significantly with, what we’re discussing here — at between 2000 and 3000. We think this number should be far larger.
Our team currently consists of Claire Zabel (Program Officer), Eli Rose and Asya Bergal (Program Associates), and Bastian Stern (Senior Program Associate). In 2021, we directed approximately $60 million in giving — more than double the previous year’s amount. We fund established projects like 80,000 Hours, LessWrong/Lightcone Infrastructure, and the Centre for Effective Altruism. We also fund many newer projects, and develop new grantmaking programs. These recently included YouTube videos on key EA ideas, which we think could collectively get tens of millions of views, several different efforts to do outreach around EA and longtermist ideas on university campuses, and various scholarships aimed at supporting people with career plans focused on addressing pressing global problems.
Why we’re hiring
We are now hiring for additional roles to help us get more done and expand the scope of what we do. We think the right hires in these roles could create a very large amount of altruistic value; we have a list of initiatives and new areas for grantmaking that we’re excited to explore, but currently don’t have the capacity to investigate and implement. (See the sub-areas under the Program Associate/Senior Program Associate role to get a sense of some of the possible new initiatives and areas.)
Our day-to-day experience is that of being a small team (with access to a lot of money) working within a relatively small network of people and organizations, trying to cause a huge change in the world. We think the urgency for this type of work is high — if timelines to transformative technology are short, as seems plausible, efforts to grow the relevant fields now are particularly valuable (and may lead to compounding gains), and delays of a few years make a big difference.
Who might be a good fit
People from a wide variety of backgrounds can be a good fit for this work. Our current team members have backgrounds in computer science and startups, philosophy and finance and climate science. We lean more on work tests and interviews, relative to resumes and credentials, in assessing applicants. The job description for each role contains more detail, but in general we think you might be a great fit if you:
- Are deeply familiar with, and interested in, effective altruism and longtermism. Familiarity with adjacent communities and fields in which relevant work is done — such as AI safety or biorisk reduction — is a plus, but not required.
- Have excellent verbal and written communication skills, especially when it comes to communicating about sensitive and complex topics in a nuanced, honest way.
- Are flexible about what kind of work you take on; you naturally want to help and do what’s most valuable for our goals.
- Deeply care about outcomes, and enjoy truth-seeking disagreement and debate with other team members about e.g. the relative value of different project ideas.
Across roles, we value staff who are able to communicate clearly and honestly about what they think, are comfortable giving and receiving feedback (including upward feedback for their manager or the organization), and interested in taking ownership of their work and proactively seeking ways to help Open Philanthropy meet its goals. For more information about the qualities we look for in employees at Open Philanthropy, see here.
How to apply
We’re hiring for four separate roles (listed below), which have some overlapping responsibilities and skillsets. Please fill out the application listed on the job description for the role you are most interested in by 5 p.m. on March 25, 2022. The application form for each role has a spot for you to indicate which other roles you’re interested in being considered for, and we’ll let you know if you’ve applied for role X but seem like a potential fit for role Y, so don’t worry too much about cutting off your options. Since the Program Associate/Senior Program Associate role is the most general one, if you’re about equally interested in that role and others, we’d encourage you to fill out that application (and check the boxes to indicate your interest in other roles).
- Program Associate/Senior Program Associate
- Projects & Operations Lead
- Program Operations Associate
- Special Projects
For all roles, we are open to considering candidates with varying levels of seniority. We are open to making multiple hires in any of these roles, if we end up with several candidates who would be strong fits for our team. If you have applied to work at Open Philanthropy before, depending on what position(s) you applied for, we may be able to use some of your previous application information, which will decrease the time costs of applying again. If you have any questions about applying, please contact email@example.com.
Please apply by 5 p.m. Pacific Time on March 25, 2022 to be considered.
If you can think of someone else who might be a good fit for any of these roles, please drop their name into this form. If we end up hiring someone because you referred them, we’ll pay you a $5,000 referral bonus. See here for more details on our referral policy.
Which include our grantmaking focused on Biosecurity and Pandemic Preparedness and Potential Risks from Artificial Intelligence.
Note: Open Philanthropy is also hiring a founding program officer to work on EA movement-building in pursuit of goals in Global Health and Wellbeing; the teams will operate separately, though we think there is a good deal of synergy between these goals.
As of 2020. See this post by David Moss of Rethink Priorities for estimates based on the 2019 survey, and this comment for a link to the same estimate based on the 2020 survey. We’re counting “significantly engaged” as being at engagement level 4 or 5.
Just a reminder that the deadline for applications is this Friday, March 25th.