Careers at the Centre for Effective Altruism

CEA’s mission is to build a community of people who are acting on EA principles, by nurturing high-quality discussion spaces. We are looking for people to join us in that work.

Open roles

We are actively looking for people to fill the following roles:

  • Finance Associate

    Application deadline: Wednesday, December 15th 2021, 12:00 am GMT

    The Centre for Effective Altruism (CEA) is seeking a Finance Associate to assist in managing $42m in turnover across five major EA organizations.

Recently closed opportunities

  • Product Manager, EffectiveAltruism.org

    Applications for this position have closed

    We are looking for a product manager to lead the development of one of the most important websites in effective altruism.

Expressions of interest

We are accepting expressions of interest for certain positions that we haven't officially listed yet. We expect to proceed with a smaller percentage of these applications, and to process them more slowly, than we do for officially listed roles. But we’ve made the first step as easy as possible, and we recommend submitting an expression of interest even if you’re not sure if you’re a good fit.

Current positions:

FAQs

Contents

What is the application process like?

The full hiring process for many roles looks something like this:

  1. Filling out the application
  2. An initial application screen (possibly including a short video/phone call)
  3. An invitation to take 1-2 work tests designed to simulate the work you would do if hired and/or evaluate certain skills important for success in the role.
  4. A remote interview
  5. A 2-10 day paid trial to allow you and us to see what it would be like if you worked at CEA. You’ll be able to meet the team, including our Executive Director and the person who would be your manager. This might include a visit to our Oxford office, depending on your location and availability.
  6. Reference checks
  7. The employment offer

We believe it’s worthwhile to invest significant time in hiring in order to build the strongest possible team. We realize our hiring process is unusually demanding, and we offer monetary honorariums for completing our work tests — partly to ensure financial constraints do not keep candidates from applying, and partly to demonstrate that we respect and appreciate the time that applicants put into these tests.

We aim to adapt our process as much as possible to accommodate disabilities and other commitments you have. If you have any questions about applying, please reach out to jobs@centreforeffectivealtruism.org.

What are “expressions of interest”?

In most areas, we have funding and management capacity to take on additional excellent staff. We want to share the roles we might be interested in hiring for, even if we’re not actively running a full round at this time. We hope this will give a better sense of the types of talent we would like to add, and allow people to find roles that might be a good fit for them.

Therefore, we are accepting expressions of interest for a variety of roles. We generally have some flexibility with these roles, and might adapt them for excellent candidates. We will assess applications on a rolling basis, using the process described above. Because we are not actively focused on hiring for these roles, we will typically review applications more slowly than we do for other roles, and will tend to have a higher bar for inviting you to the next step of the process.

We recommend that you apply even if you’re not sure if you’re a good fit. We aim to make this first step as simple as possible; you won’t have to invest much time. Many of CEA’s strongest contributors thought they were longshot candidates based on their backgrounds.

Some of the positions listed on this form don't yet have full position descriptions on our site. If you'd like to learn more about a given position, please reach out to jobs@centreforeffectivealtruism.org

If you don’t see a role that suits you, but you feel you might be a strong contributor in some other way, you can select “General Expression of Interest” and briefly explain why.

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What impact could I have?

We are aiming to build a world where leaders, thinkers, and philanthropists are guided by impartially altruistic, truth-seeking principles. We think this could help to reduce existential risk, poverty, and suffering, and give us the capacity to build a more resilient and flourishing world.

To achieve this, we work with students and young professionals — especially those we think have a strong chance of becoming world-class researchers, entrepreneurs, or leaders — who want to learn about the most pressing problems the world faces, and to find the support and mentorship they need to help solve those problems. We believe this can be an extremely high-leverage approach, but we know it can be really hard to do well. You can read more about our thinking on our strategy page.

Our programs are frequently cited (e.g. on the EA Survey) as helping people to get involved or stay involved with effective altruism. Our own case studies and other data sources also suggest to us that we are helping people to enter extremely promising career paths.

Our programs are also growing quickly, and we think that they have potential to expand further. For instance, we are a long way from reaching all of the most promising university students. There are lots of projects that we think could be very impactful, but that we don’t have the capacity or skills to execute. If we make you an offer there’s a significant chance that the role would not (immediately) be filled by someone else.

You can also have impact by helping us to improve! We appreciate working with people who will constantly challenge us to do better, and help to improve the quality of our existing projects.

“I deeply appreciate how focused on impact and actually doing good CEA is. Because of this, I've been able to raise concerns I've had about strategy and had them taken seriously.” — Nicole Ross

How will I learn and grow?

One of our four team values is “collective growth”. On top of the basics,1 we invest in helping employees to grow in a variety of ways.

  • We work with all staff to help them identify areas for improvement, via annual, in-depth, growth-focused performance reviews, as well as more regular check-ins.
  • We try to shape roles around people’s strengths, and focus development on extending and supplementing those strengths.
  • We then work with staff to set development plans. These plans generally focus on getting relevant hands-on experience, but we are happy to pay for specialized training and mentorship where that would be helpful.
  • We expect managers to account for staff members’ individual strengths and differences, and we provide them with support and training to assist in this.
  • There are optional staff-organized meetings and Slack channels where we support each other’s personal growth goals.
  • We also hold all-staff training with external experts (e.g. on survey design).

Roles at CEA are often open-ended and challenging, but include lots of feedback and support. This can be a good environment for learning a wide variety of skills quickly, but it’s less suited to becoming an expert in one thing, or for people who prefer a more pre-defined career track.

“Working at CEA has been a dream job for me. I get to work with people who share my values and epistemic norms in a way that I wasn’t able to find working as a lawyer. I have had the opportunity to provide support and get feedback from teammates who have different skills than I do, and their weekly feedback helps me continue to grow in my role after more than 5 years.” — Amy Labenz

What benefits do you offer?

Currently, our benefits include:

  • Health: We offer comprehensive health, dental, and vision coverage.
  • Retirement: We provide all staff a 3% pension contribution (UK) or equivalent salary boost elsewhere.
  • Flexible Work: We want staff to be able to work when and where they feel most productive. Staff are generally free to set their own schedules, and many work remotely, or from home one or more days per week.
  • Training: We offer all staff a £1,000 annual training budget, and we might offer more if there are additional compelling opportunities for you to learn.
  • Time Away: We offer 25 days of paid vacation per year, plus public holidays. We encourage staff to use their full allowance. We also offer up to 14 weeks of paid parental leave, leave for bereavement, and options for unpaid leave.
  • Equipment and office: We will pay for high-quality and ergonomic equipment (laptop, monitors, chair, desk, etc.), both in the office and at home (if you work remotely).

“CEA really cares about making sure that staff are happy and have everything they need to do their jobs well. [...] It’s very clear that if you need support, you’re going to get it.” — Barry Grimes

Do I need to move?

Around half of our current staff are remote, and we have a strong remote culture. We prefer applicants who are able to work in time zones between US Pacific time and Central European Time, but we already have some contractors who work outside those time zones.

We still think that there are benefits to being co-located with colleagues. So we have a hub office in Oxford, UK, which we share with the Future of Humanity Institute, the Global Priorities Institute, EA Funds, and the Forethought Foundation. We encourage staff to work from and visit the hub office when possible, and about half of the team regularly works from the office.

We hold in-person staff retreats 2-4 times per year, to discuss our plans and build strong working relationships.

Can you sponsor visas?

If you want to work in our Oxford office but don’t have the right to work in the UK, we may be able to provide visa sponsorship.

What compensation can I expect to receive if hired?

We set salary based on a formula that accounts for prior experience, location, and relevant comparables. We do this to reduce bias, and to allow us to make our principles more transparent to staff.

Our salary levels for the same role tend to vary significantly based on the candidate’s location and prior experience. For some roles, the scope and responsibilities of the role might also vary, depending on the candidates available. Therefore, any accurate range is very wide. We’ve found that when we share a range, candidates often expect a salary towards the top of that range, which sometimes conflicts with our commitment to having a consistent policy for compensation.

This often makes it hard for us to give a realistic general salary range. We aim to pay competitively enough that salary isn’t a dealbreaker for candidates who would otherwise be interested in taking a role with us. Please ask if you would like more information on salary, and we can give you more information based on your location and experience.

What do current staff think of working at CEA?

Here’s what our current staff tell us:

  • 78% of staff felt that their role was a good fit for their skills and interests, while 22% felt that their role was a medium level of fit, or that there were aspects of strong fit and aspects of weaker fit.
  • Average satisfaction with managers was 6.0 out of 7.
  • 78% of staff unreservedly recommend CEA as a place to work (and 22% would likely recommend, but with some caveats about the role or the job seeker’s preferences).
  • Over the past two years, we’ve had very high retention: over 90% of staff employed in the spring of 2019 still work at CEA.

When we last interviewed our staff about their experiences, the most common themes were that we have a supportive atmosphere, and that our leadership is very open to feedback. The most common concern raised was that progress was being slowed by the number of people giving input on decisions. We have since introduced a tool to clarify decision-making processes, and reduced the number of stakeholders for many decisions.

You can also get a sense of our current culture, and the culture we aspire to, from our values.

“I notice how often leadership does an excellent job of modeling, ‘No, you can actually disagree with me. I recognize that can seem risky. I appreciate you taking the risk.’ And people trust that, so they do! We do this while still actually pushing things forward together. That’s rare, in my experience.” — Sky Mayhew

“At CEA, staff have remarkable flexibility to define their roles and set their own priorities. My managers ask questions that help me make better decisions, but if we disagree, I've almost always been able to do what I thought best — so long as I came up with a hypothesis and could gather data to test it." — Aaron Gertler

What is your approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion?

CEA serves a global community, and our team works with people and organizations all over the world. We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion, and we encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply. We especially encourage applications from people of color, women, and non-binary people who are excited about contributing to our mission. We are an equal opportunity employer. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, or have any other questions about applying, please contact caitlin@centreforeffectivealtruism.org.

We have implemented a variety of policies for both our hiring practices and employees, including:

  • We have structured our hiring process to center on trial tasks rather than interviews, partly as an effort to mitigate the effects that conscious and unconscious bias can have on hiring decisions. We also conduct recorded, scripted interviews reviewed by two staff members to improve comparability between candidates. We think this is a better way of hiring, as it focuses us on who can do the work best, rather than who interviewers happen to get along with.
  • To encourage applicants with a diverse array of backgrounds, we do our best to minimize application “requirements” which could deter capable individuals from applying. For example, we don’t list educational requirements that are not strictly necessary for performing a given role.
  • We have worked extensively on our compensation system to ensure that it is principled and data-driven rather than negotiation-driven, and does not amplify systemic inequities.
  • We have flexible working hours, reimburse work expenses that will help individuals with their productivity, and take other measures to ensure that everyone can thrive here. We believe that many conventions of the workplace — for example, expecting regular in-person office attendance — are not necessarily important for all roles, and not necessarily compatible with prioritizing inclusiveness.

“CEA has been a very flexible and supportive place to work. I have some chronic health issues, and CEA has made work feel sustainable and part of a thriving life for me.” — Nicole Ross

What are we looking for?

The specifics of what we are looking for depend on the role; details can be found in each job description. In general, we’re looking for people who have many of the following traits:

  • Eager to work in accordance with our team values;
  • Self-motivated, hard-working, and independent;
  • Able to communicate clearly in writing and in person;
  • Comfortable working in a team;
  • Deeply motivated to act on and improve our strategy.

I hope to work at CEA in the future. What should I do now?

This will depend on the role, of course, but some of the following actions might help:

  • Work on a challenging open-ended project (e.g. a start-up, a side project, or as part of an established business or non-profit).
  • Gain specific skills - e.g. web development, writing, research, events - ideally with a successful mentor.
  • Write regularly. Consider writing on the EA Forum or starting a blog.
  • Get experience promoting the ideas of effective altruism (online or in-person).
  • Use 80,000 Hours’ research to analyze your own career plans.

How can I find other high-impact jobs?


Footnotes

  1. Like setting clear role descriptions, having annual performance reviews with self-assessment and feedback to managers, setting quarterly goals and reflecting on how they went, and having weekly one-on-one meetings with your manager.