up from 12% to 17%
from 12% to 17%
Social impact has always been at the heart of everything we do: we are first and foremost a school, with a strong commitment to taking individuals from all over the world to the next step in their career. Our mission to make education accessible was defined nearly ten years ago, and still stands; but becoming a mission-driven company added an extra layer of intentionality to that commitment.
Spurred by the recommendations of our Mission Committee, we had to forego the comfort of existing operations to really understand what accessible education means and more importantly where it has the most impact. We are intentional in bringing accessible education to those who need it most; we are also more and more intentional in progressively building educational programs that are as sober as possible, since we recognize that social impact can’t be synonymous with exponential growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
As a school but also as a company, we have a responsibility to contribute towards a more prosperous, greener and more respectful future: we believe in progress, and this mission report sums up our small contribution to that belief.
We wish to thank the complete OpenClassrooms team, as well as all the vibrant communities we are lucky to work with – from mentors to career coaches, partners or Mission Committee members. And obviously, all our gratitude goes to the hundreds of thousands of individuals, all over the world, who come to learn with us on OpenClassrooms.
The company offers courses
and training programs (paths)
Creative Commons license: CC BY-SA
All courses can be copied and distributed for any purpose, even commercially.
WCAG level: AA, striving to reach AAA level everywhere on the platform.
What does this figure mean?
As a company, OpenClassrooms recognizes that its operations have an impact on the environment, through the emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG); our emissions are mostly related to the storage and use of digital tools, including energy consumption. Our first step towards carbon responsibility is to measure precisely how much GHG are emitted per free user and per student; our aim is to significantly reduce our carbon footprint by developing sober, innovative online learning solutions.
At OpenClassrooms, our main success criterion is career outcome: our ultimate objective is to reach 500,000 career outcomes per year every year, starting in 2025.
What’s a career outcome?
We record one career outcome when an individual active on the platform credits OpenClassrooms with having helped them in any of the following ways:
In February 2021, OpenClassrooms was certified as a B Corp, with an overall score of 101.2. For context, the average score for a company is 51 and a score of at least 80 is required for certification. We’re doing particularly well in categories such as Governance and Workers, and will have to improve in the Environment category, which is already the case with our carbon strategy that started being implemented in 2021. A year later, our estimated improvement score is at 110.7.
Foster accessible education for everyone – at all levels, from funding options to progressive pedagogy and personalized mentorship.Employability
Develop training programs with one obsession in mind, allowing people to progress in their careers – at all levels, from focus to most in-demand competencies to personalized career coaching for each and every student.
Data Scientist student, financed by FOAD (French unemployment office)
“I’m reassured to know that, at the end of the course, I will be able to benefit from career coaching, and that I will be supported.”
“The way in which teaching is organized at OpenClassrooms, and the project-based approach are really interesting. It’s very professionalizing, and the diversity of subjects is truly a key point. It enables you to plan ahead and discover what you will want to put into practice in the future.
It has been 20 years since I last worked on my resume or applied for a job; so, I’m reassured to know that, at the end of the course, I will be able to benefit from career coaching, and that I will be supported. I’d like to find a job as soon as possible.”
Product Manager in training, apprentice at Partelios
“I’m someone who doesn’t necessarily like school, but I’ve loved the learning method provided by OpenClassrooms.”
Product Manager in training, apprentice at OpenClassrooms
“When I moved here from Ukraine, I didn’t have much work experience. Now, I finally feel like I’m on track.”
The mission is articulated as follows:
Raison d’être (purpose): Make education accessible (“rendre l’éducation accessible”).
Overall objectives: OpenClassrooms has chosen to articulate its overall objectives with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aiming to set its action into a broader, global framework.
Objective 1: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all (SDG 4); OpenClassrooms offers education programs with the highest level of quality, inclusive and accessible to all throughout their lives.
Objective 2: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all (SDG 8); OpenClassrooms places employability and professional progress at the heart of all its efforts.
Objective 3: End poverty in all its forms everywhere (SDG 1); the company fosters social and economic progress through better employability and job placement, by training individuals on in-demand jobs and by encouraging economic development.
Objective 4: Reduce inequalities within and among countries (SDG 10); OpenClassrooms offers free education and training opportunities to anyone anywhere in the world.
Operational objectives: OpenClassrooms is the only registered Société à Mission to delegate the definition of its operational objectives to accomplish the mission to a Mission Committee. The Committee assigned the following objective to the company: to increase by 20% the number of underserved individuals benefiting from a training program, with four levers mobilized to achieve that increase.
The Committee also defined what it precisely meant by "underserved communities", with five specific communities taken into consideration here: jobseekers, people living in underserved areas, people with low levels of education, people with disabilities and refugees.
Making education accessible is OpenClassrooms’ mission right from the start.
OpenClassrooms becomes a mission-driven company (even though mission-driven companies don’t exist in France yet) ahead of its series B financing.
The Mission Committee is created gathering all company stakeholders.
Publication of the first Mission Report with a set of objectives defined by the Mission Committee.
OpenClassrooms changes its bylaws to officially become a mission-driven company.
The Mission Committee is created to assess and measure the impact of OpenClassrooms’ activities on its stakeholders, according to a set of impact criteria defined by the Committee itself. It does so independently from the company’s management, its investors or any other stakeholder: the Mission Committee is designed to be autonomous.
The Mission Committee creates and publishes a Mission Report for each calendar year; the report is to be delivered together with OpenClassrooms’ annual report, and will track progress against a set of impact criteria defined in all independence by the Mission Committee.
The Mission Committee is currently being renewed, under the guidance of Maureen Sigliano (president) and Olivier Fleurot (vice-president) who have both agreed to stay for another mandate.
Given the recent growth of OpenClassrooms and how crucial the Committee’s recommendations are for the company, OpenClassrooms is considering a compensation package for Mission Committee members; that new regime will be installed for forthcoming members once elected or designated.
Program Success Manager in charge of job placement, OpenClassrooms
“At OpenClassrooms, we don’t just train people to make them happy, but above all to open up new professional perspectives for them.”
As an online school and as a mission-driven company with a clear commitment to accessibility and employability, OpenClassrooms has a role to play in answering all these challenges: what eventually will make a real difference is knowledge and skills. But beyond the obvious, “education as usual” is not enough anymore: given the sheer size and complexity of the issues our world is facing, starting with one billion active individuals to reskill within the next ten years, schools and education providers, online and offline, now have a responsibility to step up and do more.
Do more? To us, this means drastically improving recruitment processes, in order to foster diversity and bring education to those most in need of it; this means better articulating curricula with competencies to ensure swift integration into the job market – while also training conscious citizens, not mere skilled operators.
It was with this conviction in mind that we submitted our first set of objectives to OpenClassrooms, asking the company to dedicate resources and prove intentionality towards a number of underserved categories. Over the past two years now, after the publication of our first report lining up objectives, we’ve seen the company evolve in the right direction, with a steady increase of underserved populations among students: for the second year in a row, the Mission Committee therefore gives its quitus to OpenClassrooms.
But challenges still stand. With the continuous expansion of OpenClassrooms outside of Europe, the company will need to find new funding models for instance, and may want to open specific admission tracks for further underserved populations, veterans for instance. The Mission Committee will continue to provide guidance and directions – with one priority, which remains the same since the beginning: to make education accessible.
This means that it will need to ensure that underserved customers can access and complete OpenClassrooms’ educational products and that they are empowered to improve their lives. Therefore it will need to dedicate resources, create and execute consistent strategies, in order to achieve this objective.
Delivering transformational positive impact to underserved communities should not be by default but by design, and pursued as a key business driver. Social impact initiatives shouldn’t be considered as philanthropic one-off projects, isolated from core business: instead serving underserved communities needs to be at the heart of the OpenClassrooms business model.
The Mission Committee believes that intentionally serving underserved customers is not only the right thing to do from an impact point of view but also that it presents significant untapped business opportunities. Underserved communities also represent an important untapped customer segment. Therefore, intentionally serving underserved communities will enable OpenClassrooms to do well as it does good.
Notes on data availability
OpenClassrooms is constantly improving its data collection capabilities. Until 2020, applications and enrollment processes were scattered across a number of different funnels, mostly depending on funding sources; these funnels have now been centralized and harmonized. To a certain extent, the increased impact registered for 2021 also reflects the significant progress made by OpenClassrooms in data collection.
For the second year in a row, the Covid-19 pandemic deeply disrupted the traditional organization of our societies, affecting education among many others. As a result of the pandemic and its consecutive lockdowns, a massive shift towards online learning and education was observed: companies as well as public institutions that were rather distrutful until then were quickly convinced and started funding large-scale online reskilling programs. OpenClassrooms undoubtedly benefited from that shift, which is also reflected in the impact results above.
Only paid students are taken into consideration in the figures above; OpenClassrooms doesn’t capture the necessary data for free users. The company is looking into ways to better understand how its free student community is structured, in line with its mission; these efforts will be outlined in the next editions of this Mission Report.
So far, efforts to increase awareness among target audiences have been mostly focused on job seekers: that community is already structured and accessible. On the other hand, less structured communities, such as refugees for instance, are more difficult to reach and survey; OpenClassrooms has started working with a vast number of NGOs to reach out to these communities, and will progressively ramp up its capabilities here.
In 2021, OpenClassrooms launched its first advertising campaign targeted at job seekers, with the objective of recruiting candidates for a large-scale training program in the Paris region; local authorities in that region decided in early 2021 to fund a massive online reskilling initiative aimed at jobseekers living in the region, using OpenClassrooms as their preferred online school. To source candidates OpenClassrooms launched this first-ever advertising campaign.
up from 12% to 17%
from 12% to 17%
Brand awareness up
from 19% to 25%
from 14% to 17%
In line with the recommendations of the Mission Committee for 2021, OpenClassrooms and its leadership dedicated significant time and resources to create thought leadership around its mission and commitment to bringing accessible education to underserved individuals.
OpenClassrooms Director of Learning Design and WISE Emerging Leader
“The issue we are trying to solve with OpenClassrooms is global.”
81% of all OpenClassrooms degree students benefited from third-party funding in 2021, representing an eleven percentage point increase compared to 2020. That figure obviously only concerns paid students; third-party funding can be either private or semi-public (in particular through apprenticeship schemes) or public (through large re-skilling programs funded by public authorities, with a very high level of control for both quality and employability).
Sources of funding are more and more diversified: beyond public financing for training, available through the large-scale partnership signed by OpenClassrooms with the French job agency Pôle emploi, the company is also developing apprenticeship schemes. Depending on the country where that apprenticeship is operated, the source of funding is either public, private or both. From 2020 to 2021, the number of apprentices enrolled with OpenClassrooms has increased by 70%.
Payroll Administrator apprentice
“OpenClassrooms helped me keep my head above water and find a job.”
From Beauty Consultant to Career Coach
“With the help of the unemployment office, I worked on my career plan. That confirmed my desire to become a career coach.”
Developing partnerships with companies is a very efficient way to promote accessible education, especially through apprenticeships. Over the course of 2021, OpenClassrooms has multiplied this kind of partnerships in France and elsewhere; for apprentices for instance, the job placement rate after the training programs exceeds 80%.
The growth of corporate partners reflects the progression in apprenticeship numbers: OpenClassrooms works with numerous large international corporations, but also with a vast number of SMEs, sometimes located in remote areas, where access to quality education or training opportunities is arduous.
Data Querying with SQL graduate Guild Education partnership
“I was really excited to learn about SQL. I feel like this is my career path, this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
In 2021 OpenClassrooms courses were followed in 190 countries and territories, basically all over the world. On top of that, OpenClassrooms also has paying students in 72 countries; the company is developing a strong presence outside of its European stronghold with growing numbers of students in the UK, the US and Japan, leveraging corporate partnerships and apprenticeships.
UX Designer student, Dentsu “Train & Hire” program
“I know it is a tiny step, but it is a massive step for me.”
Our partnership with Dentsu
47% of women who go on maternity leave in Japan never reenter the workforce. Our Train & Hire program in partnership with Dentsu offers an opportunity for educated unemployed mothers to rebuild confidence and competence, training for in-demand roles. After graduating, Dentsu helps match women with employers, helping companies increase the diversity of their talent.
The five underserved categories defined by the Committee are still relevant; however, given the exponential growth of OpenClassrooms outside of its traditional markets, it is important to start reflecting on how to adapt these categories to other geographies.
The same goes for levers: the 60% funding target made sense from a European perspective, where private and public funding schemes exist and are widely available to the public; for countries where this isn’t the case, specifically the United States, relevant targets will need to be defined.
The Committee knows that OpenClassrooms has started collecting data on ethnic backgrounds, although that initiative may be controversial in certain countries; the committee would like to see information about ethnic backgrounds integrated into the mission results.
The same goes for environmental impact: it is of paramount importance for the company to consider and report its emissions, and contribute towards emissions reduction; the committee acknowledges the first steps taken in that direction in the present report and expects more progress in the forthcoming years.
Last but not least, the Mission Committee expects OpenClassrooms to report substantially on student outcomes: what happens with people from underserved communities after their admission to an OpenClassrooms training program? And after their diploma? The committee also acknowledges that first steps have been taken in that direction, but would like to see more substance over the next editions of the report.
OpenClassrooms would like to thank all those who contributed to this report.
Graphic design coordination