New figures reveal that the number of applicants to Police Scotland has dropped by more than half in a single year.
In 2021-22 there were 2,237 applicants, a decrease of 5,611 in the previous year.
This data was published in 1919's social affairs magazine, which is sponsored by the Scottish Police Federation (SPF).
The SPF's "most overt" action in a century was launched Friday by officers who withdrew their "goodwill" during a dispute about pay.
Scottish officers protest a "derisory” PS565 pay increase offer.
Officers cannot strike industrially, but they will be charged for overtime and refused to start shifts earlier than required by law.
Calum Steele, General Secretary of SPF, described the applicant figures in an "astonishing fall".
He stated that "policing is becoming less appealing as a career choice. This could be due to issues about pay, funding, and the falling number of officers, which can put more strain on resources.
"We are aware that there is a very vibrant jobs market in the UK right now, and the police force is competing with a variety of other professions.
These figures were revealed by 1919 magazine in a freedom-of-information request. They are the result of a decrease in police officers to 16,805 -- below the 17,234 "full officer establishment" limit.
Police Scotland has appointed 442 officers to replace the 430 in 2020. This is a slight increase from the 430.
This is well below the 1,017 officers who were appointed in 2019, which saw 4,228 applicants to force.
Steele warned that there would be a retirement crisis for Police Scotland.
According to the SPF, one in ten officers was considering quitting after the introduction new pension arrangements that would allow them five years earlier retirement.
Steele stated that it was crucial to ensure that each recruitment drive attracts strong candidates.
Simon Wright, Superintendent of Police Scotland, urged prospective applicants to think about a career in the force
He stated that the police service, as many large organisations, had been dealing with Covid's impact on recruitment and training.
"We have continued to recruit people and have met all of our recruitment intakes.
"We have received 1,755 applications since the beginning of 2022 and have increased our police officer recruitment by half, bringing 300 police officers to policing every intake."
According to the Scottish government, police officers numbers are "favourable relative to other parts of the UK", with 32 officers per 10,000 in Scotland compared to 23 officers in England or Wales.
A spokesperson stated that it is normal for officer numbers fluctuate. The current figures were impacted due to the use of the Police Scotland Training College as a base for UK police officers during COP26 as well as ongoing coronavirus restrictions.
On Monday, further talks were held to resolve the dispute over the SPF's pay.
Although progress was made, the federation stated that there was still a gap between the sides. The talks are scheduled to resume next week.