This article relies excessively on references to primary sources. Please improve this article by adding secondary or tertiary sources. Find sources: "80,000 Hours" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (December 2022) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

80,000 Hours
FoundedOctober 2011; 12 years ago (2011-10)[1]
TypeNonprofit organisation
FocusSocial impact research and advice
OriginsOxford, England
Area served
ProductFree, evidence-based career advice
Parent organization
Effective Ventures

80,000 Hours is a London-based nonprofit organisation that conducts research on which careers have the largest positive social impact and provides career advice based on that research. It provides this advice on their website and podcast, and through one-on-one advice sessions. The organisation is part of the Centre for Effective Altruism, affiliated with the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.[1] The organisation's name refers to the typical amount of time someone spends working over a lifetime.[2][3]


According to 80,000 Hours, some careers aimed at doing good are far more effective than others. They evaluate problems people can focus on solving in terms of their "scale", "neglectedness", and "solvability", while career paths are rated on their potential for immediate social impact, on how well they set someone up to have an impact later on, and on personal fit with the reader.[4]

The group emphasises that the positive impact of choosing a certain occupation should be measured by the amount of additional good that is created as a result of that choice, not by the amount of good done directly.[5]

It considers indirect ways of making a difference, such as earning to give (earning a high salary in a conventional career and donating a large portion of it), as well as more direct ways, such as scientific research or shaping government policy.

The moral philosopher Peter Singer mentions the example of banking and finance as a potentially high impact career through such donations in his TED Talk, "The why and how of effective altruism," where he discusses the work of 80,000 Hours.[6]

Focus areas

80,000 Hours' primary focus is on advising talented graduates between the ages of 20 and 40.[7]

It advocates longtermism, the view that improving the long-term future is a moral priority, due to the large number of people who will or could exist in the future.[8][9] Accordingly, the organisation spends significant resources considering interventions perceived to have persisting effects over time, such as preventing nuclear warfare or a particularly severe pandemic, improving relations between China and the United States, or enhancing decision-making in large organisations.[10]


80,000 Hours has recommended earning to give, the practice of pursuing a high-earning career and donating a significant portion of the income to cost-effective charities. This recommendation has been received with some skepticism.[11] Pete Mills argued in the Oxford Left Review that because the likelihood of bringing about social change is difficult to quantify, 80,000 Hours is biased toward quantifiable methods of doing good, such as earning to give.[12] Over time, 80,000 Hours has deemphasised "earning to give", in favour of alternative paths like research, advocacy or policy reform, and begun recommending work on problems that are less easily quantified.[13][14]


The largest funder of 80,000 Hours has been Open Philanthropy backed by husband and wife Dustin Moskovitz and Cari Tuna with $10m of cumulative donations up to 2019.[15] Other significant individual donors include Ben Delo, Luke Ding, Sam Bankman-Fried, Alex Gordon-Brown, Denise Melchin and Jaan Tallinn. Organisational funders have included the Frederick Mulder Foundation and the Effective Altruism Meta Fund. It received $50,000 from Y Combinator in 2015.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Our Mission and History". 80,000 Hours. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
  2. ^ "FAQ". 80,000 Hours. Archived from the original on 1 November 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  3. ^ "Impact investing: the big business of small donors". Euromoney. Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Research". 80,000 Hours. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  5. ^ Sebastian Farquhar. "The replaceability effect: working in unethical industries part 1". Retrieved 31 October 2012.
  6. ^ Peter Singer. "The why and how of effective altruism". Retrieved 27 December 2013.
  7. ^ Todd, Benjamin (November 2019). "Advice on how to read our advice: Our advice is aimed at a particular audience". 80,000 Hours. Archived from the original on 24 December 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  8. ^ Todd, Benjamin (October 2017). "If you want to do good, here's why future generations should be your focus". 80,000 Hours. Archived from the original on 24 October 2017. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  9. ^ MacAskill, William (5 August 2022). "Opinion | The Case for Longtermism". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 15 September 2022.
  10. ^ "Our current list of the most important world problems". 80,000 Hours. Archived from the original on 27 June 2016. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  11. ^ Srinivasan, A. (24 September 2015). "Stop the Robot Apocalypse: the New Utilitarians". London Review of Books. 37 (18): 3–6. ISSN 0260-9592.
  12. ^ Mills, Pete (May 2012). "The Ethical Careers Debate". The Oxford Left Review (7): 4–9. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  13. ^ "80,000 Hours thinks that only a small proportion of people should earn to give long term - 80,000 Hours". 80,000 Hours. 6 July 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  14. ^ "A list of the most urgent global issues". 80,000 Hours. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Our donors". 80,000 Hours. Retrieved 4 December 2022.
  16. ^ "Want To Make An Impact With Your Work? Try Some Advice From 80,000 Hours". TechCrunch. 4 August 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.